Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has hailed California firefighters as "heroes" as they battle against the blazes reeking havoc across the Sunshine State.

The actor-turned-politician took time yesterday (28OCT03) to meet and shake hands with some of the brave men fighting to control wildfires as they move north through California.

He said, "I think that what our firefighters have done here in California is extraordinary because this would have really been going out of control without them.

"The crews were working unbelievably hard, 24 hours a day. This is why I'm out here today. To visit some of the firefighters, to just let them know what great heroes they are."

Schwarzenegger also took the opportunity to thank President George W Bush for his quick response to the crisis.

He added, "I'm very pleased today that President Bush has acted so swiftly and declared this a major disaster area. I will ask for federal money to be made available so people can rebuild their homes and businesses."

29/10/2003 14:06