Schwarzenegger declares fire emergency in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Aug 29 (DPA) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a wildfire emergency Friday in Los Angeles County as firefighters battled two blazes that forced the evacuation of as many as 1,500 people.

The fires threatened the affluent coastal community of Rancho Palos Verdes, and residences in La Canada Flintridge, which lies in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of Los Angeles.

High temperatures helped the fires spread quickly but low winds overnight helped firefighters make headway in stopping the flames before they destroyed any houses.

“We were very fortunate that the head of the fire … was stopped at the backyards of those homes,” said Los Angeles County fire chief deputy John Tripp.

More than 3,700 firefighters are battling blazes across more than 14,000 acres throughout the state, as rising temperatures and the spread of population to wilderness areas increases the risk of wildfires.