Calif. governor calls up 2,000 more troops to fight fires

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced today he will call up an additional 2,000 California National Guard troops over the next several months to fight wildfires as the state faces an arduous fire season.

President Bush, meanwhile, is scheduled to visit California on Thursday to receive a wildfire update.

The steep increase in Guard troops comes as nearly 20,000 firefighting personnel work overtime to contain blazes caused by lightning strikes over the last three weeks. The state has had 1,781 fires since June 20, with 322 fires remaining active, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fires have burned 752,944 acres.

"The fire season as we have known it in California is pretty much over," Schwarzenegger said today during a press conference in Los Angeles to announce a new anti-smoking campaign. "We used to have a fire season that goes from the end of summer throughout the fall, but now we have a fire season all year around. So we need the extra manpower and also the extra equipment."

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