http://www.sina.com.cn 2007年10月30日 12:17
Roads that are usually choked with traffic were choked with smoke instead. Spacious homes erupted in flames. Picturesque mountainsides turned black. Helicopter crews far above the inferno felt the heat. The wildfires that swept through southern California this week gripped more than 700 square miles (1,700 square km) in their incendiary embrace.
The fires began on October 21st, a Sunday. The Santa Ana winds, which whip dry air from the desert plateau westwards and downwards into southern California. Before long, fires were blazing uncontrollably in seven counties. Perhaps as many as a million people have been forced to flee their homes. At least one person died in the flames, and five more died during the mass evacuation. Dozens of firefighters have been hurt.
America is a place of extreme weather. But why were the fires so destructive Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, blamed global warming. Joel Kotkin, a demographer, points out that California has always had fires during dry years, at least since the time of the Spaniards. Recent ones have caused more damage than those 30 years ago, because the population has grown and many more Californians have moved out of city centres and built big homes surrounded by foliage.