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Emergency Declared on Southern California Fire

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Acting California Gov. Tom Torlakson has declared a state of emergency for a major wildfire that has burned 18 homes and killed one person in the Los Angeles area.

The declaration issued Tuesday frees up state resources and temporarily sets aside regulations for the firefight and the recovery.

The fire in rugged wilderness between the northern edge of Los Angeles and the suburban city of Santa Clarita has burned 58½ square miles (152 square kilometers) and at its peak forced about 20,000 people to evacuate, though most have now returned.

Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, is acting as the state’s chief executive because Gov. Jerry Brown and several other top officials who would normally replace him are all at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.