California Wildfires Prompt President Bush To Declare Emergency

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) - President Bush has issued an emergency
declaration for California, where hundreds of lightning-caused wildfires have scorched more than 400 square miles.

Bush ordered federal agencies to assist firefighting efforts in Butte, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta and Trinity counties.

One of the largest fires has burned more than 40 square miles near the Big Sur region of the Los Padres National Forest.

Authorities have shut down a 12-mile stretch of coastal Highway 1, cutting off access so some of Big Sur's most popular tourist spots.

The fires have left a smoky haze over much of the San Francisco
Bay area and Central Valley. Air regulators are advising people to
stay indoors to avoid breathing the unhealthy air.

An electrical storm last weekend ignited most of the fires and authorities say more lightning could be in store this weekend.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-28-08 1459EDT

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