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US firefighters control California blazes
LOS ANGELES, July 20 (AFP) Jul 20, 2006
Thousands of firefighters have contained a series of wildfires that in one week have charred more than 330 square kilometers (127 square miles) of brush and forest land in southern California.

The fires have killed a 57-year-old man, injured 17 people, mostly firefighters, and destroyed 50 homes, eight mobile homes and more than 200 vehicles. Damage estimates stand at some 17 million dollars, the fire department said in a statement Wednesday.

More than 3,000 firefighters were mobilized to battle the blazes.

The largest wildfire covering 250 square kilometers (100 square miles) in the Sawtooth area east of Los Angeles, which includes Joshua Tree national park, was 100 percent under control.

The second largest blaze in the San Bernardino mountains had also been put out or brought under control.

The operation has been helped by lower temperatures and higher humidity.

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