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Fire threatens top California winemakers

A wildfire sweeping the state of California in the US is rampaging through the town of Santa Barbara, threatening the vineyards of some of the region’s top winemakers. 

The vineyards of Au Bon Climat, Firestone, Foley Estates and Brophy Clark Cellars, among others, could face disaster if the fire continues to spread.

The fast-moving blaze has so far scorched more than 500 acres of land and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency.

The past 24 hours have seen at least 20 buildings in the region destroyed and 13,000 people have been ordered to evacuate as the fire bears down on the town centre.

The fire, which is being treated as potential arson, is moving particularly swiftly due to record temperatures and strong winds of up to 50mph.

Click here to watch a video of the fire ripping across the hills .

Alan Lodge, 07.05.2009 

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