4. Various of helicopter scooping up water to dump on the Harris Fire
5. Various of mountains and smoke
6. Wide of helicopter carrying water bucket
7. Wide of helicopter dropping water on Harris Fire
Coronado Naval Air Station, North Island, California - October 26, 2007
8. SOUNDBITE: (English) Paul Mattingly, crew commander, US Navy:
"Typically the crews are dropping a hundred or more buckets a day for aircraft - depends how close your water source is to the actual fire, in some cases you may drop closer to 200 a day."
9. Randolph Borges, a pilot of US Navy gets out of helicopter
10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Randolph Borges, US Navy pilot:
"You got the main fire going but you've got to keep those flair-ups because within less then five minutes those little flair-ups can just turn absolutely huge, so you know we do our best to keep what we can and work it down. A lot of times it's the air that suppresses the fire and it's the ground guys that actually go in there and actually put the fire out."
Julian, California - October 26, 2007
11. Various of firefighters standing next to fire trucks
12. Close of map
13. Mid of firefighter looking at map
14. Wide of fire station
15. Various of empty town streets
16. Various of fire truck driving away
17. SOUNDBITE: (English) Greg Griswold, Battalion Chief, Julian Fire Department:
"Now that we've got return west winds that are coming from the coast pushing us to the east, we have a bunch of equipment between Julian itself, and we've got a bunch of people working on the fire lines down on the river beds and the drainages. It's really rough country, it's very steep country, however we're making good progress."
Barrego Springs, California - October 26, 2007
18. Wide exterior of Barrego Springs high school, used as evacuation centre
Fires continued to rage in parts of the US state of California on Friday, and Navy, Marine and California National Guard helicopters were busy dropping hundreds of huge buckets of water on the Harris Fire east of San Diego.
An AP Television cameraman was on board one of the helicopters as they tried to put out the fire.
The Harris Fire has burned 84- thousand acres (34- thousand hectares) and continued to spread slowly on Friday in a well-trekked area near Portrero, about 35 miles (55 kilometres) east of San Diego.
The Harris Fire has destroyed almost 100 homes, and authorities evacuated Jamul, an upmarket community of about 6-thousand in a hilly region about 20 miles east of San Diego.
Randolph Borges, a pilot on one of the helicopters, said the the little fires were just as dangerous as the big ones.
"You got the main fire going but you've got to keep those flair-ups because within less then five minutes those little flair-ups can just turn absolutely huge, so you know we do our best to keep what we can and work it down. A lot of times it's the air that suppresses the fire and it's the ground guys that actually go in there and actually put the fire out," he said.
Meanwhile, the Witch Fire, which already has destroyed more than 1-thousand homes, was making its way towards Julian.
Towns scattered throughout the county remained on the brink of disaster, including the apple-picking region around Julian.
The town of 3-thousand, nestled in the rolling hills of a popular apple-growing region, was under mandatory evacuation and is completely deserted.
Flames were about six miles away, and firefighters were concerned that winds coming from the west would accelerate the blaze uphill toward the town, where dozens of homes were destroyed four years ago.
Greg Griswold, Battalion Chief at Julian Fire Department, told AP Television "now that we've got return west winds that are coming from the coast pushing us to the east we have a bunch of equipment between Julian itself and we've got a bunch of people working on the fire lines down on the river beds and the drainages. It's really rough country, it's very steep country, however we're making good progress."
According to officials, the Witch Fire is about 309 square miles in northern San Diego County from Witch Creek to Rancho Santa Fe. It is 30 percent contained, and has destroyed 1,061 homes, 30 commercial properties, 175 outbuildings and 230 cars. About 1,100 homes and businesses are threatened as it continues to spread.
Meanwhile, evacuees were bedding down in nearby Barrego Springs after being evacuated from their homes.
Friday's flare-ups underscored the continuing threat posed by the wildfires, even as crews are making rapid progress towards containing it.
In all, fires have raced across 490- thousand acres or 765 square miles.
They were fanned early in the week by Santa Ana winds that produced gusts topping 100 kilometres per hour.
Of the 1,800 homes lost so far, 80 percent were in San Diego County.
The property damage there alone has surpassed 1 (b) billion US dollars.