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5/11/2007

Santa Catalina Island is Ablaze

Breaking Earth News
Photo: A firefighting helicopter flies over a raging wildfire, near the town of avalon on Catalina Island, Ca. Thursday, May 10
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Ash rains down 'like snow' as firefighters battle Santa Catalina blaze

AVALON, Calif. - Firefighters struggled early Friday to protect a resort island’s main city from a wildfire that forced hundreds of residents to flee on ferries as ash rained down “like snow,” by one resident’s account.
The blaze broke out Thursday afternoon and grew to 4,000 acres as it fed on dry brush, fanned by a steady wind into the night on the island about 30 miles off the Southern California mainland.
The orange inferno loomed behind the quaint crescent harbor, landmark 1929 Catalina Casino and homes, restaurants and tiny hotels clinging to slopes above the waterfront.
'Like a nightmare'As flames threatened the city limits of Avalon, hundreds of people lined up at the harbor Thursday night to board ferries to the mainland. Many covered their faces with towels and bandanas as ashes fell.


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