Underneath the layer of thick smoke now covering all of southern California, thousands of firefighters are still struggling to contain ten separate blazes. Thirteen people are now known to have died, at least nine in the state's biggest fire in San Diego County.
Over a quarter of a million acres and six hundred and fifty homes have been destroyed in what the outgoing governor, Gray Davis, is calling the worst fires in California for a decade. He's asked President Bush to declare the area a disaster zone to free up federal funds. The fires have taken hold because of drought and an infestation of bark beetle, which has left millions of dead trees. Emergency services say it may take until Wednesday bring the fires under control.