WILDFIRES BURN THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA
Oct. 27, 2003 — Wildfires burning for days merged into walls of flame stretching for miles across parts of Southern California on Sunday causing death and destruction. Air travel has been disrupted across the nation. Over the weekend, more than 7,000 firefighters fought ten major fires in southern California, one large cluster in the San Diego area and another about 100 miles north in mountainous areas north of Los Angeles. More than 300,000 acres have been blackened by the raging blazes. The fire storms drew much of their strength from the fierce Santa Ana winds, with near-hurricane gusts of up to 70 mph. Fires remain out of control as firefighters concentrate on evacuating residents and protecting structures. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of wildfires across the state of California taken on Oct. 26, 2003, at 3:55 p.m. EST. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Click here for latest NOAA images. Please credit “NOAA.”)
Storm Prediction Center, in Norman, Okla., pronounced southern California
a "critical fire weather area" since the end of last week. NOAA
Incident Meteorologists are providing localized fire weather forecasts
to officials on the ground battling the fires.