From the Wall Street Journal:
and this one:
As of last night, more than half a dozen fires spreading from north of Los Angeles down to the Mexican border below San Diego had burned 420,424 acres, destroyed 1,155 homes and forced the evacuation of some 881,500 people, according to the Los Angeles Times's tally. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the fires, which are mostly uncontained, still threaten 68,000 more homes. And until the Santa Ana winds subside, there isn't much overtaxed fire crews are able to do other than tamp out spot fires and chase "ribbons of airborne embers to keep new fires from flaring," as the Associated Press puts it. "If it's this big and blowing with as much wind as it's got, it'll go all the way to the ocean before it stops," San
Diego Fire Capt. Kirk Humphries said. "We can save some stuff but we can't stop
Like the fire chiefs on the front lines, state and local officials were raising doubts about government readiness for the periodic burst of wildfires in Southern California. San Diego, in particular, has been mired in a financial crisis that might have stopped it from improving preparedness since the last wave of fires there four years ago. Twice in recent years, voters rejected proposals to boost funding for local fire and police departments by raising hotel taxes, the Journal notes, and last year the city's fire chief resigned in frustration.
Bold for my emphasis
How big is the fire? Check out this map view updated by the local TV station, KPBS