| GEO World|
| Two firefighters killed by California fires|
| Updated at: 1215 PST, Monday, August 31, 2009|
LOS ANGELES: Raging wildfires Monday gained ground around Los Angeles where they have claimed their first two fatalities and left three other people injured while threatening thousands of homes.
Two firefighters died south of the town of Acton when their vehicle went off the road and rolled down a mountain slope, said Mike Bryant, a spokesman for the fire department.
One of the fires, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) long, was burning largely out of control along a ridge in a populated area north of Los Angeles. It was under five percent contained, firefighters said. The US Forest Service said the blaze by midday had destroyed 14,000 hectares (35,200 acres) of land.
And by late Sunday the fire in Angeles National Forest was approaching a historic solar observatory and television transmission towers on Mount Wilson, The Los Angeles Times reported citing county fire officials. Crews cleared brush around the structures, but fire officials had doubts about leaving personnel on the mountain because of limited escape routes, the Times reported.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited the Station fire in Los Angeles County for a briefing earlier on the status of firefighting efforts across the state and to encourage the thousands battling the blazes, which are threatening at least 12,000 homes, and 2,500 other buildings including 500 businesses.