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FROM THIS EPISODE

Decreasing winds have helped exhausted firefighters gain some ground today, but many fires are still not close to containment and at least one arson investigation is under way.  President Bush has declared a disaster which means federal assistance for fire victims. Property damage in San Diego County will top one billion dollars, where local officials are being criticized for a lapse in preparedness.

Producers:
Karen Radziner
Christian Bordal

Main Topic The Fires Continue. Were We Adequately Prepared?

President Bush has trumped Southern California’s emergency status with a declaration of major disaster.  That means federal grants, temporary housing, unemployment assistance and low-interest business loans.  Governor Schwarzenegger’s Office of Emergency Services has created 5 local assistance centers to help with insurance claims and housing assistance.  They’ll also help fire victims replace lost records.

Guests:
David Lauter, Assistant Managing Editor, Los Angeles Times
Jeff Bowman, Former Chief of the San Diego Fire Department
Steve Erie, University of California at San Diego
Jonathan Karp, Reporter in Los Angeles for the Wall Street Journal

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