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International Crews Helping Fight California Fires


Firefighters who have been battling wildfires in the western state of California for weeks are receiving some help from abroad.

Federal officials say firefighters from Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Greece are coming to assist exhausted U.S. firefighters.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered 2,000 more National Guard troops to join 400 soldiers already participating in firefighting efforts.

In one of the largest fires, police in the northern part of the state say they found the body of one person killed in a fire. They say the victim likely defied evacuation orders, which affected some 10,000 people in the town of Paradise and in surrounding areas.

State officials say wildfires have burned more than 320,000 hectares of land, and have destroyed 100 homes since June 20.

U.S. President George Bush has announced plans to visit some of the damaged areas.

Nearly two-thousand fires have broken out in the state since June 20. Many of the blazes are attributed to lightning.

Last year, fires destroyed more than 200,000 hectares and about 2,000 homes in California.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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