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Words in the News
 
Monday 27 October 2003
 
California fires
 
Forest fire Forest fires started in the US state of California on Tuesday and are still spreading. So far thousands of people have had to leave their homes. Robert Nisbet reports:
 
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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.

Robert Nisbet, BBC, California
 
 
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blazes
 
very large fires
 
over quarter of a million acres
 
more than a hundred thousand hectares
 
outgoing governor
 
the political leader of California State, who is leaving his job soon.
 
disaster zone
 
area with serious problems, which receives immediate help from central government
 
free up federal funds
 
make available money from US central government
 
taken hold
 
a fire which has taken hold is very difficult to stop
 
drought
 
a long period of time without rain
 
bark beetle
 
an insect which attacks trees
 
Emergency services
 
Fire fighters, police and ambulance are emergency services
 
bring the fires under control
 
stop the fires spreading
 
 
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