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Go back to the transcript Main page Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees October 25, 2007
01:00 ETTHIS is a hurried transcript.
This copy may not be in final form and may be updated.
AC-Anderson Cooper
360: Thank you very much, Larry.
This is the first time in a few days, except for the ash, the fire and the smoke that fill the air tonight, there is also hope in the air.
The Santa Ana wind, which turns the fire season into a national disaster of half a million acres, is in some way disappearing.
Evacuation orders for 13 communities in the San Diego area were canceled tonight;
However, the new order was also issued tonight, as the changing winds could push some flames into dangerous new directions.
So, there's a lot of work to do, just look at the map.
15 fires, they will not come out soon.
The latest news tonight says authorities believe at least one fire may have been committed by one or more arsonists.
The latest arson tonight.
We will also show you what the firefighters are dealing with at close range.
I spent a day at the front line on the eastern edge of the Harris fire and we will show you.
We will also talk to some of the millions of people. -
So far, millions have been forced to leave their homes, and some have decided to solve the problem better or worse.
We will show you how they do.
Tonight, there's more in the next hour.
First, the big picture.
It's not easy at the end of the day, but it may be a sign of better days to come. (Start Video)(voice-over)
: The worst fire in Southern California is out of control, but on Wednesday, there is good news for the people they desperately put out the fire.
Temperature drops, humidity rises, Santa Ana winds blow to more than 100 milesan-
After pushing forward for an hour, the Flames have finally eased.
Without these winds, the helicopter can fly over the fire again, dripping water to put out the flames.
Nearly 1 million people have been forced to flee their homes to local shelters, some of whom have also received relief.
Evacuation orders were canceled in more than a dozen communities.
The news is not very good for others.
On Wednesday night, hundreds of homeowners were warned that they had safely walked out of the road to the Harris Fire in San Diego County, which was spreading in their direction and that they might have to leave.
Some people are still waiting to see if their home is still there and whether their property is still safe.
Trudy mccune: I feel a little bad because--
I hope I don't lose my home, but I feel very sad because I know a lot of people who have lost their homes.
Cooper: The wait is over for others.
At Rancho Bernardo, people first saw their home, and now it's just a pile of rubble and coal slag.
Mark Davis, lost home in the fire: We 've seen pictures of it before, so we kind of know what's going to happen.
I think it really helps.
It was hit a lot when we found out it was definitely gone, but we 've--
We 've been living with it for a day or two, so it's not as hard as he drove over hoping it would be there without seeing it.
Cooper: So far, seven fires have been under control and 15 continue to get out of control.
Where the fire has burned and continues to burn, there are only burnt ruins and broken hearts.
Unidentified men: we don't have much time to live.
Woman: Oh, Tom.
Unidentified male: our home can be replaced, but I don't know if I want to go through all this again.
Cooper: federal and state officials said on Wednesday that the fire, which was deliberately set up in the San Diego Canyon, started an arson investigation.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised those who worked tirelessly to stop these relentless fires.
Governor Schwarzenegger (R)
California: there is no doubt that we have the greatest firefighters in the world, the bravest firefighters, the most experienced firefighters, and I have seen them in action.
Not only do they work 24 hours a day, some of them work 40 hours in a row without sleeping. . . (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, it's easy to think that it's over just because the wind has blown down.
This is not the end of a long shot.
Take a look at the Live Photos of the San Diego Canyon fire.
This makes you feel some of the fires that are still happening.
This is the fire they think. -
Now, it's set on purpose.
The investigation is in progress.
I want to talk about that criminal investigation now.
CNN's John Zarrella joins the San Diego Canyon fire in Orange County, just north of here, and as I said, it's now seen as a crime scene.
What's the news, John?
CNN reporter John zareira: Anderson, my right side is the San Diego Canyon, we are on the ridge line here, and after the fire on Sunday afternoon, in the San Diego Canyon, the fire runs through the ridge line, through the Valley, the distance is--
Now there are about three from Harding Canyon-
A mile from us, this is what is burning now.
Of the approximately 2,000 families threatened, thousands evacuated 600 firefighters, 110 engines and trucks at the scene.
Of course, about 50% of the people in the fire, all of which are clearly the result of arson.
Investigators and the sheriff's office here, the Orange County Sheriff's Office told us later this afternoon that, in fact, they did think arson was the cause of the initial fire in San Diego.
Together with the FBI and arson investigators, they found three specific origin points in the San Diego Canyon and Silverado Canyon.
They think the fire happened at three points in the two canyons.
They were outside and they apparently collected some information from the site, some evidence from the site where they thought these fires had occurred, which was clearly told to us from some fire investigators, about five miles from where we are tonight.
Now, all this led to the fact that earlier this evening, the $70,000 reward was provided with information, resulting in the arrest of the person responsible for what they are talking about now, this is obviously an arson case. it's not far from us in San Diego Canyon. -Anderson.
We may not know, John. we may not be able to say it.
Do they have suspects in their hearts? And how --
How close are these three origins?
ZARRELLA: they didn't tell us how close these three origins are.
But in two specific canyons, one on the left here, one on the right, on my right, and in terms of the suspect, we were told that there were no suspects.
They have not yet executed any search warrants.
There is a briefing later this evening.
Officials from the Orange County Sheriff told us that there was no new information coming out of the briefing ---Anderson.
Keep an eye on the story, John.
We have an update tomorrow morning.
Thank you very much, John.
I saw it very clearly today, and I knew what firefighters were facing.
The difference is that I can go home.
They're still on the fire line outside.
As you have heard, Governor Schwarzenegger said that some of these men and women have been working for an hour in a row for several days without rest and food.
The Harris Fire was with me today.
Today, we are on the eastern edge of the Harris fire.
They are trying to stop it from spreading eastward.
As we mentioned just now, more evacuations are going on in the area tonight.
It only contains 10%, while the top 10% is not easy. (Start Video)(voice-over)
The Harris Fire caused serious losses.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 73,000 acres had been burned and the fire was only 10% under control.
The sound of burning wood and brushes echoed in the canyon.
Firefighters struggled in the sea of fire. (on camera)
: Firefighters must give priority to the fires they are going to solve due to resource constraints. (voice-over)
: Today, the staff dug up the bushes and created the FireWire, hoping to cut off quicklymoving flames.
But the fire in small places has been burning, and the tired staff are trying to catch up. (on camera)
They are trying to put out the fire at the scene.
This is indeed the biggest concern today.
They can't solve the fire directly because although the wind has subsided today, the wind moves too fast.
So, they just wanted to solve--
Put out these small fires and make sure that the remaining fires do not continue to spread. (voice-over)
: The wind has weakened, which makes it possible for more aircraft to fly and put down a chemical flame retardant PhosChek.
However, gusts are still a problem because with gusts, firefighters can't put out the fire the way they want it. (on camera)
: If the wind is not so fast, so high, you may be more aggressive in hitting the actual fire.
But now you basically just have to defend.
Ron Eldridge, fire captain Carl: of course.
If we don't have the conditions and humidity of the wind, we can put the hose on the ground, save the fire on the flank of the fire, and put out the fire when we go. COOPER (voice-over)
: So far, more than 450 buildings have been destroyed or damaged, and the number is still increasing.
When the firefighters arrived, the house was too far away.
Fireman Eddie Gaudi: when we had this problem, it was halfway through.
We decided it was unsafe to save money. COOPER (on camera)
: So, in a fire like this, there is nothing they can do to save the house at this point.
But they watched it burn to make sure there was no on-site fire and there was no more fire in the wind.
That's what happened to this tree here, so they quickly took it out because they didn't want to spread it elsewhere. (voice-over)
All they could save from the house was television and computers.
Up to now, the Harris fire has killed one person and injured more than 20 others.
As the weather improves tomorrow, fire officials hope that the worst may pass, but everything depends on these unpredictable winds. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Now with me is Doug Lannon, captain of California Forestry and Fire Department Cal Fire, who is working on the biggest witch Fire in the area.
What is the progress of Witch Fire now?
Doug Lannon at cal fire: now, actually today is a very productive day.
It was a wonderful day.
The northeast wind weakened. We do have --
We do have some breeze, some northeast wind rising at a higher altitude;
However, they are much less than they were earlier this week.
Cooper: at the scene of the Harris fire, we saw the wind turning today, and the firefighters were very worried and said it was a very dangerous situation.
I think in the Cedar Fire of 2003, some firefighters were killed when the wind was converted, or at least one firefighter was killed.
Why so dangerous?
Lannon: Well, what happened was that the visibility was not very good when you were working in the heat and smoke. And if --
That's why we have to have watchtowers, we can also see changes in the plume in the air attack, and the plume may change direction.
We need to get a message right away so the fire doesn't sneak up on someone from behind.
Cooper: So if the wind changes, it will catch you from behind, and you have no way out?
Yes, it can.
Cooper: I mean, when a fireman is injured, is it actually a smoke inhalation or an actual flame?
Ranon: Normally, our typical injury, especially in this weather, is an eye injury, and sometimes there is sand and stone under Google even if it is on Google.
Also, heatstroke is a real problem, and it's also a problem to breathe in smoke, yes.
Cooper: You know, I think when some viewers hear that the wind has weakened and it has weakened significantly, they think it's all over.
This is not the end of a long shot.
LANNON: No.
In fact, there are three things that caused a wild fire. of course, the weather is one by one, and the wind is one.
But we have terrain and fuel.
It depends on the fuel, depending on the humidity of the fuel, and also on how steep the terrain is, what caused the wildfire.
Cooper: I went to a briefing at 7: 00 this morning. m.
They say some fuel on the ground, some of these bushes, some of which are only four or five years old, but some are like 40 years ago.
Ranon: Yes, some are dead and have been dead for a long time, and this will not come back.
It will last for years until a fire or something like that happens, and it will always pose a danger to firefighters.
Cooper: When you hear about someone deliberately setting fire, San Diego fire, what's going on in your head?
Is this really irritating to you?
Lan Nong: it must have made me angry.
There were enough unexpected fires.
Of course we don't want anyone, just Willie.
Light things up because they think it's fun to do or something else.
It puts us all in danger.
Whenever we respond to a field fire, it's dangerous even if it's just sometimes getting there with traffic and other things.
The fire itself is very dangerous.
So this is a felony, and people who do this will be caught in prison.
COOPER: We are now looking at the Live Photos of the San Diego Canyon fire, which they think was deliberately set up.
They're investigating this.
You did an arson investigation.
What are you looking--
You know, what do we actually mean by talking about these three origins?
What are you looking for in the origin?
Lannon: basically, when we investigate a field fire, you look for signs on the ground and you look for things like staining, char patterns, leaf freezing, etc.
These are the physical features we can see on the fire field.
Cooper: are you talking about frozen leaves?
Lannong: Yes, the leaves are frozen.
Cooper: What is that?
Lan Nong: Well, in a high
The situation of the wind, especially the leaves, is actually--
We said the wind in the Northeast was blowing. -
The wind blows the leaves below, and when the fire comes, think about it. if these leaves leave, all the moisture will be taken away and kept in that position.
Not kidding?
Lan Nong: it points in the direction of the fire. So, we know. . .
Cooper: You can use this as a clue. . .
LANNON: Yes.
Cooper: Great.
Lannon: it helps us to get back to the place of origin.
It's always suspicious what we're looking for when you have multiple blood systems.
But before we call the fire arson, we have to eliminate all the other causes.
Cooper: That's what they do now.
Doug Lannon, thank you for being with us. Thanks so much.
Thank you for everything you do.
Lan Nong: Thank you.
Cooper: long days.
Next, we will take a look at the scenery of the water.
As this 360 special edition continues to survive the fire, a striking observation is how to add all the elements together to become the perfect storm in California. (
Business break)(
Start Video Editing)
Evacuate Mike wheels: pay tribute to the crew.
Are you just thrilled that they saved your house?
These guys don't even have work.
They were not even paid.
They're from the Grand Canyon Fire Department.
What they did was not paid and they saved my house. (END VIDEO CLIP)
Cooper: Front Line firefighters in many places are helping strangers.
There are still 15 serious fires tonight.
Let's learn from Tom Foreman that the scale of this disaster is incredible ---Tom.
CNN correspondent Tom Foreman: Anderson, if you take a bird
You can see what the authorities are against.
This morning, there was a fire up and down the coast.
Tonight, they felt more than six were under control.
This means that there are fire prevention facilities all around them, and they feel that these fires will not happen anywhere else and will not spread further.
However, it is difficult to judge where they are parked and where they start with the biggest fire.
Take a look at this picture from Digital Earth, how the smoke from a fire covered the valleys here, and hardly see where the hot spots are.
But we know this.
There are now five fires above all the other fires that we have to focus on, and we show them here again in relative size, San Diego here, Los Angeles here.
About 200 houses were destroyed by the Harris fire.
They fear it will spread.
Here, Rice fire and slippery fire each account for about 200 homes;
About 300 houses were burned by the Grass Valley fire.
But so far the biggest is the witch Poomacha fire.
It destroyed 500 houses and threatened thousands of people.
When the smoke clears, this is one that so many evacuees will be watching closely as these fires are under control to see if their home has passed through this huge fire ---Anderson.
Cooper: as Tom just mentioned, the second largest fire in San Diego County is the Harris fire, which I saw earlier today and we just showed you.
The fire burned more than 73,000 acres of land, destroying at least 200 houses and killing one person.
Rick Sanchez is also covering the fire tonight.
He joins us now. -Rick.
Rick Sanchez, cnn correspondent: Yes, Anderson, Cal Fire is telling me now that they think they have about 10% of their oil reserves.
So, you know, it's really not a lot considering everything.
We were standing here yesterday, remember?
I explained to you most of the canyon behind me, here, Steele Canyon, on fire.
It's basically nothing tonight.
Most of them escape from the moon.
That's what firefighters call it when most of the vegetation is burned.
But if you go a little south from here and are actually heading towards Mexico, you will find that some communities are still struggling with this fire right now.
We went to that area.
One of them is called antlers Valley.
I want to show you some videos of what we found.
By the way, everything has changed on the way up.
We are entering a warning-only area and suddenly become an actual evacuation order. Here it is. (
Start Video Editing)
Let's go to antlers Valley now.
See what's happening over there.
It looks like the fire will spread on the road.
We might actually see it happen.
Captain Don camp will take us there now to show us exactly what's going on.
Captain, describe to us exactly what's going on here.
Captain Don Kemp, fireman: we are in antlers Valley now.
We have a lot of assets in the area to protect the scattered structure of the entire valley.
Look at this thing.
Look at this thing. Wow! Look how --
It was just picked up.
Camp: If you notice, the fire starts to twist on the top like a tornado.
SANCHEZ: Yes.
Camp: this is what we call a whirlwind of fire.
This is another sign that we are now fighting the unstable wind on fire.
You have one wind blowing in one direction, the other wind blowing in another direction, it will make the fire rotate like a tornado.
Sanchez: I have never seen such a thing before.
I mean, it's a huge fire. -
I mean, it's like breathing, isn't it?
Absolutely.
Fire is alive.
It has life, it creates its own wind, it creates its own weather.
It is not controlled by anything but the power of nature.
See the road over there?
See what's going on with the brush.
It looks like the fire almost wants to reach out from one side of the road.
It may not take long for the fire to cross the road and across the other side. (END VIDEO CLIP)
It's amazing. You feel it. You hear it.
You know, the heat that comes out of it.
I'm sure you went through something like this when you were outside yourself, Anderson.
By the way, when we go along this road, I think it's a little hard to see for the benefit of the audience, because, you know, when you have such terrain, it's hard to see the actual building.
But what you can't see when we get on that road and go to the fire is that we have houses on the right, we have houses on the left with people, and in some cases, you know, who is still insisting.
But firefighters are knocking at the door and telling people they really need to go out.
Hopefully tomorrow morning we will venture back there to see how they are doing.
It's hard to say, you know, at this point.
But firefighters are there, the big strike team, and they are doing everything they can to protect these houses from burning down-Anderson.
Cooper: As you said, Rick, when you're there and you're close to it, you hear the crack crackling and burning of wood, it's a living breath.
The close View is extraordinary and terrible.
In the past few days, Southern California seems to burn sometimes and feel the same.
The air here is very strong. many places are smoky and dangerous.
We will see how bad it is in terms of health.
We will be back soon. (
Business break)
Cooper: Welcome back to this special live version of FireWire 360.
"In Rancho Bernardo, the Witch Fire really destroyed many families in the area. Look at this.
This is a house, a very big home on this cliff.
Nothing at all.
I think it's like a garage. it must be a garage door.
What can you see? -
The bricks are still there.
This is the walkway to the front deer, I think, but that's all. It is all gone.
The rest is a chimney.
The woman who lives here is here--
Not long ago.
The police only allowed her to stay here for 10 to 15 minutes.
She just cried and she said there was nothing in the house.
She left her wedding ring and passport in there.
None survived.
She has nothing left.
She may find the wedding ring if they double check this thing, but it's hard to see how to find it.
This is one of the cars. It's a --
I think it's a Mercedes.
Nothing at all.
You will feel how strong the heat is. Look at this. the wheel --
This is the metal that we think falls off the wheel.
I have never seen such a thing before.
It just melted in place.
The car was obviously completely destroyed. Watch the --there you go.
I would also like to show you how fast things are changing here.
Apparently, they are ready for Halloween.
They will decorate the decorations.
This decoration is the only thing that survived the whole house.
It's hard to believe.
There will be no holidays, no shenanigans here. or-
Treatment on this roadde-
Sac in this area of San Diego County.
Chad Myers is standing next to the bad weather center and let us know what's going on next and what we can expect tomorrow.
Chad, how does it look?
Chad Myers, cnn meteorologist: it looks better.
The wind is weakening.
Anderson, they are almost zero in many places.
This is good news and bad news.
The fire will not be so wild good news, and the bad news that the smoke will not be pushed into the ocean.
This is one of the latest pictures from Los Angeles. A.
By the river, this is the fire here.
That would be the Arrow Smoke through Los Angeles. A.
Then Oceanside, this will be the fire here, this is not all the fire in the San Diego Canyon, still burning this morning at this time.
In the next few days we will see the wind of chaos.
This means wind, light, and variables from different directions, sometimes blowing to the left, sometimes to the right.
Some smoke may go into Palm Springs all the time, into Vegas, and you may smell the smoke, not anywhere near you.
This will be the lingering smoke around L. A. basin.
What we are going to go tonight is a very slow process, no air, no wind, no flame.
But when you get to a hill, it's like turning a game over --
Then the flame got out of control again.
The difference tonight is that when the flames reach the ridge they don't jump like they did a few days ago.
A few days ago, the flame reached the ridge, and then the remaining fire walked a mile along the road, and the firefighters couldn't keep up.
We won't have this problem tonight.
These flames and winds are not big enough to reach this point tonight.
This is good news.
Wind: three miles-per-
10 miles to Yucca Valleyper-
It's about an hour. I think it's about 10 miles west of San Bernardino. per-
It took an hour from a different direction to come here, down from the Harris Fire to the south.
Now, ironically, I pressed the button and moved you all the way to the northeast, where I watched a little ball game tonight.
In New York City and Washington, D. C. C.
It's definitely wet, Anderson.
Rain everywhere.
The airport is definitely a disaster today. Two and three-
Because of the rain, the delay of one hour, there will be no drop of rain in Los Angeles
Anywhere in the West.
One thing to recommend as this smoke will get worse for you, if you go there, if you can get a humidifier, a humidifier with a paper core, the large-scale wind weapon and smoke particles that the fan wind blew into the paper were deposited on this paper.
Every once in a while, rinse your filter and put it on again.
Or, if you have a swamp filter, your house has a swamp cooler and open it.
It will also collect smoke particles as it will be your lungs and will be there for a long time.
The smoke will become more and more serious.
It will be everywhere because the wind won't push it away now ---Anderson.
Okay, Chad. thank you very much.
It's weird when you're standing on a cliff like this, there's a time when you can't smell anything, then the wind changes, and suddenly you can smell the fire again, although they are far from our position tonight.
Not only does this air have smoke, as Chad says, it has ash in it and in some cases it has more fire.
When the wind starts to sink, you can see the ashes falling.
Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is now talking with us about air quality and how dangerous it is.
Elizabeth, what do we know about things in the air?
Elizabeth cohen, CNN: Anderson, I can tell you what we know, but I'll show you.
You have to check out these air filters at a monitoring station I ran to San Diego County this afternoon.
You will see a white filter, just an original white filter, and then a black filter.
This is a filter that only stays for 24 hours.
See what it has accumulated.
It basically turns black, you and I, and of course all the things that millions of others breathe turn black.
Now, of course, you look at it and think, oh my God, what's in all this stuff?
The answer to this question is
Kim Prather is an environmental chemist and professor at the University of California, San Diego.
You have been monitoring.
When we talk, we are monitoring things in the air.
What's in the air we breathe?
UCSD environmental chemist kim prather: We have been doing measurements since Sunday and you will see the normal mixture from the smoky air.
But because this is a city, we can see a lot of things besides burning wood.
We see the effects of burning cars and materials and buildings, such as asbestos and other types of contaminants that rise in the air.
The place where the fire happened was a very complex combination.
Cohen: So people breathe asbestos, which is burning all the time, the metal is burning all the time, and all the trees and bushes are burning (inaudible). . .
They may be brown or black in color.
I mean, like the filter you see.
From this point of view, your lungs are like a filter.
Cohen: What is the health impact of breathing this air day after day?
PRATHER: Well, I mean, we still have a lot to know about breathing this high concentration of air pollution.
This is one of the reasons we have been doing these measurements.
But basically, there's a lot more, you know.
One thing we know is that it affects your lungs, but it affects other areas of your body.
You also have problems with your lungs, but you also have heart problems, people with heart problems-
Basically particles enter every area of your body, every organ of your body.
Cohen: So these tiny particles are much smaller than the width of the hair and they go into your lungs and into the rest of your body as well.
PRATHER: Yes. Absolutely.
They can basically go into your blood and ship to each area.
They have shown the tiniest things to enter your brain.
COHEN: I know.
I feel in my throat.
I felt it in my head.
Very interesting.
Susan, you said you sent the baby out.
You have two children. you sent them out. Dr.
Thank you very much.
Anderson, you have to be here and you will definitely feel that this is not the normal air quality.
We are talking about soot that is four times higher than usual and 10 times higher than usual.
Their level is very high.
Cooper: Elizabeth, let me ask this question, and I and almost all the people who read this report want to ask this question, maybe you can ask the doctor yourself.
What did you do about this?
Should we all wear masks?
I have this feeling in my lungs.
I'm with the firemen.
I coughed all day.
What did you do about this?
Do you know?
I 've asked some experts about the masks you see people wear.
They said it might make you feel better, and it would definitely block some very large particles, but those tiny particles we discussed with Dr.
These masks won't stop it now.
They went straight through the mask.
So there is really a limit to what you can do.
Hopefully we can find some effective masks.
Maybe we will solve this problem tomorrow.
At least I will do that tomorrow.
Next, in the special edition of 360, we will hear a couple return to this community today and discover that they have lost everything.
Also tonight, the tragic story of a family is trapped in a van surrounded by flames.
Next, how do they keep calm. (
Business break)(
Start Video Editing)
Cooper: small fires like this don't usually get too much attention.
Because there's a way here.
The fire is actually unlikely to cross the road.
It's not big enough.
So the fire should go out, but now the eastern wind of the Harris fire is moving, which is causing concern.
A live fire like this is what firefighters need to jump and put out, because the remaining fire in a fire like this can be collected by changing winds and blowing hundreds of feet all the way to a house like this, set it on fire. (END VIDEO CLIP)
Cooper: That's all. change of wind.
We met a family who thought they were safe.
There is no evacuation phone and there is still a safe distance from the fire.
That's what they think.
Then the wind turned.
Before they escape, they are forced to hide if their minivan is parked all over the place.
Randi Kaye, a CNN reporter, reported their story. (Start Video)
Randi kaye (CNN reporter (voice-over): For two-and-a-half-
A few hours later, as a fire approached, they watched and waited. (on camera)
So, there's a big circle of fire around you?
Unidentified male: Yes, it's in the bank of both of us.
Then we were at the back and the deck was on fire because it was wood.
So, the fire flew, and we were hit by 100,000 fireballs.
It suddenly flew up, rolled up and slammed.
Paul Howell (ph)
When the fire began to sweep the valley, climb up the ridge and celebrate his girlfriend's birthday with her parents.
Unidentified male: We have these bullet barrage as big as a coal ball, just as you go through this valley.
Kay: Fireball?
Unidentified man: fireball about the size of a coal ball.
Kay: it's too late to evacuate without the authorities warning.
As you can see, their escape routes are cut off by flames and their homes are threatened.
Unidentified male: how can you ask for help?
There's fire all around us?
Who will help us?
We can only rely on ourselves. KAYE (voice-over)
So, they quickly avoided the wind in the van at home.
Paul showed me where they parked the car, a dirty piece between the two houses, good advice from a fire chief a few years ago.
Unidentified male: He told us that if there is any fire on this property, the safest place is the central area. KAYE (on camera): In a car?
Unidentified male: on any type of vehicle. KAYE (voice-over)
So, they sat here, watching the trees burn, and their property turned into smoke.
Paul and Henry Tinkerph)
Take turns fighting the flames.
Their only weapon?
This burnt garden water pipe
Man: It's hard.
But you never thought about it.
Our flames shoot at 40 feet or higher in the air, just like a tornado rises from the back of the river bank.
Are you using a garden water pipe?
We use garden water pipes.
You can't see more than 10 feet times in front of you.
The fire passed by like crazy.
You can't breathe well.
The wind shook the car.
The hot weather is unbearable.
The family blew up the air conditioner to keep it cool. (on camera)
Did this van save your life?
Man: Yes.
Have you ever thought your van would save your life?
Man: No.
It didn't even get into my mind. KAYE (voice-over)
: In the end, not everything survived.
The fire destroyed wildlife and houses nearby.
However, the flame does not match the resolve of the minivan and the family who are crammed inside. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Cooper: They are very lucky.
The woman who lives here today is here when she comes back.
I'm in the air.
You talked to her.
Everything is gone. KAYE (on camera): Yeah.
I don't think you can see it like it was reported in the air, but she got up and burst into tears right away.
This is the first time Marilyn and Gordon Wood have returned home.
They are only allowed to stay here for a few minutes.
They were escorted by police.
Look what they saw, Anderson.
Obviously, this is one of the cars they left behind.
They go in and out in 10 to 15 minutes.
She described the situation in the house.
The washer and dryer are in the middle.
The back is full of glass.
They can see the beautiful scenery of the valley below.
They lived here for seven years.
When they got here, they talked to her for a few minutes with him.
That's what they're talking about. (
Start Video Editing)
Kay: how do you feel when you come back today to see this?
Marilyn Wood, lost home in a wild fire: terrible.
This is terrible because it reminds me of what happened. How we left.
Kay: What did you look like when you left here? M.
Wood: It was raining when I left. It was awful.
Were you told to leave or did you evacuate yourself? M.
Wood: We got a call, a reverse 911 call and we left here after 10 minutes and 15 minutes.
We don't have time to pack our bags.
We don't have time to do anything.
You saw the flame at first.
Can you tell me what you saw and what you did?
Gordon Wood: We got a 911 call.
I looked out of the window and there was a flame at the foot of our mountain.
There are three acres of land in our mountain.
It is at the bottom of the mountain.
I put on my pants and when I look out the window the next time, the house is on fire.
Are all your personal belongings in there?
All your photos. . M.
Wood: There's everything in it.
My wedding rings are all in there.
Maybe I will find something. I don't know. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Cooper: unbelievable.
This is really the case.
Unfortunately, they can't even go back to their property.
They are not allowed to do so now.
What's really sad is that Gordon told me that his wife is still having nightmares since they left home.
She wakes up every 10 minutes every night to convince him that the house is on fire.
Lost all the photos and wedding rings. Just horrific.
Surprisingly, the fire had spread so much when he put on his pants.
It's already in the house.
KAYE: Right. It's a three-acre property.
It moved three acres in a very short time and has climbed up the house.
Cooper: Randy, we 've heard a lot of stories like this, thank you.
Next is the special edition of FireWire version 360, one-on-one with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Also tonight, a single mother was forced out of the House by Harris fire.
Her child may have saved her life.
Next is her incredible story. (
Business break)
Cooper: Earlier tonight, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited with some evacuees in the area.
He told them that they are not alone and that California will help them at every step of the way.
CNN's John King is sitting with the governor today.
He is now joining us from the San Diego Canyon.
John King, CNN: It's an extraordinary energy when you're watching and following Suizhou.
Emergency response officials early briefing on the day.
Then he went to a gym, a shelter.
There was a time tonight with firefighters.
The governor said that being so busy was his personal lesson from watching the Hurricane Katrina disaster. (Start Video)GOV.
Schwarzenegger (R)
California: Well, I think the most important thing is not to sit in the office and try to make a decision outside the office.
You must be with the people.
This is the most important thing.
You have to go there and you have to visit all the fire fighting places.
You have to shake hands with firefighters, you have to encourage them, you have to cheer them up and you have to tell them they are the greatest in the world.
You have to work with local communities, elected officials and others.
You have to work with the Red Cross.
You have to work with the private sector.
You have to call the grocery store Association to make sure they send the food to all the different places right away and, you know, the people there will spend the night.
So I think being with people is the key.
Kim: There's been a criticism or problem that has been around for the next few days, and some people think it will take too long for the assets of the California National Guard to put out fire in the air.
Some people say it's windy and other weather conditions.
Others say the state is slow to answer calls or issue orders. What was it?
Schwarzenegger: Well, I think it's obvious that we have a big disadvantage because of the wind.
We have 90 planes in California.
We also have six federal government planes that can drop a lot of water and chemicals, etc.
However, we cannot use some of these equipment and some aircraft due to wind conditions. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Cooper: John, the wind is getting bigger and bigger today. we see more planes in the air.
John, some critics say the National Guard doesn't have the resources they need to help them in California because of Iraq.
What did the governor say?
It's definitely not true, Anderson, he said.
The governor has been very critical of President Bush and the Bush administration for his view of excessive use of his civilian Guard to deploy to Iraq and to the United States ,-Mexico border.
The governor said that it is now suspected that his guards are a little nervous due to all the deployments in recent years, but when it comes to the number of people available, the number of pieces of equipment available, he said, he has nothing to put out these fires that he can't put out because they happen in Iraq or anywhere else.
They did bring some troops from the border very quickly.
He said other security forces have now been deployed and they will return to the border.
He said all the politicians said it was wrong. Anderson?
Cooper: Okay.
Thank you, John King.
There is a story for each of the evacuees.
Of course, we have already shared some of them tonight. Tara Rochee (ph)
A single mother of three. It was 3:00 a. m.
When she and her children got some important documents and clothes, they had to leave their home in Spring Valley.
Earlier, she and her son spoke to me on the 7 th of Qualcomm Stadium.
500 people are still taking refuge. (Start Video)
Cooper: Then you tell me when did you realize you had to leave your home?
Tara Roche in Spring Valley, California
Loose: at 3: 00 on Tuesday, when I got a call from my son, Anthony's best friend, Duane.
He told me there was a fire near our house.
I walked outside and I looked left at my apartment in Spring Valley, California, and I saw the fire.
I was shocked. I was shocked.
We started moving.
Cooper: You just moved to San Diego last year.
You may have never seen a fire like this before.
When you first saw the fire near your home, what was in your mind? T.
Oh, my God.
I was in shock.
Reality has not even begun.
I said I had to deal with a thunderstorm any day.
Cooper: I know you don't know what to do, but Anthony, your 13-year-old son, is a little bit of a head-on and he tells you what to do, right? T.
Yes, he did.
He just started packing that night and we all got together and took pictures, photos and so on.
Then we went to bed.
Then your friend called and finally you decided to pack up and leave.
What is Qualcomm Stadium like? T.
Of course, it's not like home, but it's better than nothing.
At least we are not on the street.
People have always been just kind and love.
They are just pure angels.
They really do.
Cooper: Anthony, how do you know how to help your mom when you hear the fire is coming?
How do you know which files to take and how do you keep this level?
Anthony Roche, Spring Valley, California
Spunk: I went in when I saw the fire.
We started packing up and my gut feeling was that my mom didn't think it would come but I thought it would come because I had that instinct and something would happen.
So I started packing.
Cooper: Is it scary? A.
Oh yeah, it's terrible because it's around us.
It's like a mile away.
The mountains next to us are on fire.
I hope it won't run to our house and burn our house.
Josh, what did Josh decide to pack?
Josh roche in Spring Valley, California
Evacuees: I decided to pack my game, we packed our photos and birth certificates, we packed our clothes, basically because we needed to wear them.
Cooper: It's smart.
Tara, what are you going to do now?
Do you know how long you will stay at Qualcomm?
How's your house? T.
Roche: I don't know anything about my apartment in Spring Villa apartment.
That's all we have.
We don't know where we can go.
I really don't know how long it will last.
I saw Spring Valley on the news today.
There is still a fire in that area.
So I will be a smart mom and stay here until safe. That's my plan.
Cooper: That must be--
It's definitely wise to be sure to keep these kids close because they seem to help you a lot.
I'm glad it was--
I am glad you are safe and I hope your house is OK and you will be able to get back to the apartment soon. T.
Roche: Thank you very much.
They are a blessing like everyone else. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Cooper: There are many blessings for many people.
Next, the eyes in the sky can protect a lot of people from wildfire, except that your government wants to spend money on a trip to Mars.
Next, let's keep them honest. (
Business break)
COOPER: Well, thanks to the satellites that orbit the Earth, you 've seen some pictures from space.
Forecasters and firefighters can get warnings as early as possible about where and how quickly the fire spread.
Well, at least now.
The satellite is worn out and needs to be replaced, which of course costs money.
No money yet.
It is actually spent on Americans on Earth, but not on us.
Not only did CNN's Miles O'Brien explain this, he kept them honest. (Start Video)
CNN correspondent Miles O'Brien: The Eagle Eye is above the sky, giving firefighters an overview of their response to the fire, part of nearly 30 American soldiersS.
The satellite looks down on the Earth.
Moore II Berlin
For the Earth, the ocean, and space: we are now in the heyday of Earth observation.
O'Brien: keep honest, scientists say, and the Heyday will soon end.
In fact, in the next five years, the numberS.
In space, sensors like the California fire that focus on the Earth will drop by 40%.
Critics say it could jeopardize the ability of scientists to track hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.
Moore: There will be a big drop in climate, ocean and weather forecast. We have seen this significant decline because NASA's earth science budget has actually been cut by more than three since 2000.
Unknown man: Ignition lift-
Start with discovery
O'Brien: But the White House is trying to control federal spending, and NASA has other priorities and doesn't have a lot of money to fund them.
NASA director Mike Griffin: In slang, our budget is at its highest level at the moment.
O'Brien: NASA director Mike Griffin is responding to President Bush's mission to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars.
This is better than Earth science. Still . . .
Griffin: this is an important part of our science portfolio.
But if people want to do more work than they are doing, then at some point you have to say, well, you have to send more if you want to do more work
O'Brien: Without more money, scientists are worried that they will waste a lot of money already spent.
For example, data on climate change can only be useful if the collection time is long and there is no gap.
Unidentified men: these are all vital things, and our plans are essential to ensure that they are continuous.
We cannot have gaps in the knowledge or information that these systems provide to us, because it means life, meaning the future.
O'Brien: But now, scientists who are trying to make better use of space as a habitat to understand the Earth believe that they will lose a lot of vision because they are more focused on the vision of other worlds.
Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, now from our I-Reporters.
We depart from San Bernardino County.
Firefighters are barely visible in smoke and flames.
This picture is from Laura.
Surprisingly, no houses were damaged in her area.
On Lake Forest, Matt and his brother-in-law beat off the San Diego fire with garden water pipes.
The fire burned within 30 feet of the house. Imagine that.
Matt said the house was almost useless.
Fortunately, the fire moved and the house survived.
Reg provides us with stunning views of the South Beach Carlsbad, where you can see all the smoke along the coast.
Let's take a look at the renovation of Qualcomm Stadium.
Tension among the evacuees.
There are about 7,500 people tonight.
That's what we think tonight.
To submit a photo or share your thoughts about the fire, visit cnn. com/360.
Go to the blog link.
Fire, drought, deforestation.
This is all connected.
Our documentary Planet in danger covers it all.
This is the product of a year's work, high definition shooting around the world.
The second part of the "dangerous planet" begins now.
See you tomorrow night.
To order a video of this transcript, please call 800-CNN-
News or use our secure online order at www. voxant.
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