One Of The Lucky Ones In California

Life in Southern California sure has changed. Strong winds kicked up again on Nov. 2, igniting fires in hills above Malibu that swept over more than 35,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 300 houses. A week earlier, a ring of flames from Los Angeles to San Diego devastated more than 173,000 acres and 731 houses, doing an estimated $500 million in damage. Among the few winners was Hughes Aircraft: It airlifted 27 company-employed firefighters to help protect its research facility near Malibu--which was unharmed.

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