Icelanders Flee California Forest Fires Skip to content

Icelanders Flee California Forest Fires

Two Icelandic families who live in California had to evacuate their homes yesterday due to raging forest fires. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared exigency in seven counties in the southern part of the state.

“We were told ten minutes ago that we had to evacuate our house. The children are already in the car and now we are packing the most important things,” Joel Valdez, who had to flee the fires with his Icelandic wife and three children, told Fréttabladid.

Almost 405 square kilometers of land have already been scorched by the fires in San Diego county and about 250,000 people were asked to leave their homes yesterday.

“The forest fires have an immense impact on the life here in California. Shops are closed, hundreds of thousands of people are on the run and San Diego is surrounded by fires that are out of control,” said Icelandic actor Stefán Karl Stefánsson, who lives near the danger zone in San Diego.

The US government announced yesterday that the forest fires were expected to spread further and would probably cause more damage than the Cedar-fires that raged in the same region in 2003, when a territory of 1,134 square kilometers and 2,232 homes were engulfed by fire.

The Red Cross has opened emergency shelters and the military was expected to be called out yesterday afternoon to assist with the evacuation. No airplanes could take off yesterday due to windy conditions.

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