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Thousands Flee as Fires Spread in California

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in California because of the danger from fast-moving wildfires that have already killed two people.

The fires have burned more than 5,000 hectares and dozens of buildings.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in the south of the state.

Major fires are raging at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, at two national forests, and around the edges of the San Fernando Valley north of downtown Los Angeles. Fire crews have made some gains, and a blaze at the northeast edge of the valley was 70 percent contained Tuesday.

A homeless man and his dog were killed in one of the fires, while another person was killed while trying to drive on a freeway enveloped with thick smoke.

The fires are being driven by the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that blow out of the California desert through the canyons and valleys.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.