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Officials consider measures to keep California wildfires down
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LOS ANGELES As Southern California faces another potentially disastrous fire season, authorities are contemplating drastic steps to keep the flames at bay.

In the past week, fires have burned nearly 50-thousand acres of dry brush and trees, displaced hundreds of people and destroyed a handful of homes and other structures. All of those fires have now been contained.

A National Forest official says the onslaught of blazes is unprecedented so early in the season.

Officials say that if the hot, dry weather continues, some decisions will have to be made, like whether to restrict the use of campfires and stoves, and shutting down high-risk areas. An extreme measure would be to close popular national forests to visitors.

Southern California is in its fifth year of drought. And temperatures in the fire areas have been in 90's. The fire season normally doesn't peak until October.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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