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It's Friday—which means Oprah's talking about all the latest headlines! Ali Wentworth, who usually shares the stage, is on a shoot for her Starz series, Head Case, but Mark Consuelos and Gayle King are on hand to give their take on all the breaking news stories.

One story out of California hits especially close to home for Oprah. At 5:45 p.m. on November 13, 2008, a raging fire broke out in her neighborhood in Montecito, California. The most recent reports say that as many as 100 homes have been destroyed and as many as 5,400 residents have been evacuated. "This fire's about 2 miles from my house," she says. "Some of my friends left their homes with only their dogs last night. I was calling [asking], 'Are you all right? Are you all right?' They said, 'We have the dogs, and the kids aren't here, so we're okay.'"

KABC-TV reporter Scott Reiff is calling from a helicopter that's hovering over the scene of the fire. He says last night's heavy winds of up to 70 miles per hour made the fight against the flames extremely difficult. "Most of these homes are nestled up into the hills along the Los Padres National Forest. There's a lot of brush around them," he says. "That's what makes this area so gorgeous. With that, though, these homes are almost impossible to defend when we have these high winds, and the firefighters just really cannot do much." Instead, Scott says efforts were focused on evacuation. "It was just a matter of, 'Let's get everybody out of here; let's save the people.'"

Scott says there have been no deaths or major injuries due to the fire. "The latest reports say ... 13 people were injured—10 with smoke inhalation, three with burns—but all of that minor," he says. "It appears that everyone [escaped. The firefighters] did get in quickly; they did get everyone out." Since the area has many windy roads, Scott says it's a miracle that no one got trapped in their homes.

Today does bring some positive news out of this tragic story, Scott says. "The godsend right now [is that] there are no winds," he says. "With that, they'll be able to save these homes." And though the fire hasn't been contained, Scott says it's static. "It has stalled, and that's the best word you can hear when it comes to a fire."
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FROM: Oprah Fridays: Melissa Etheridge Speaks Out
Published on November 14, 2008

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