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Gore Tours Florida Fire Area, Buoys Homeowners, Firefighters

From Associated Press

Vice President Al Gore toured a burned-out subdivision Monday, talking with residents who lost everything in wildfires that have charred about 237,000 acres in Florida.

“The house didn’t mean anything. It’s what’s in the house that makes a home,” Bob March said.

March had lived in the Seminole Woods house for two years. It’s now a heap of ashes and concrete.

A solemn Gore told March that Gov. Lawton Chiles, who was traveling with him, was working to get assistance for homeowners.

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Earlier, Gore praised firefighters in Daytona Beach for not losing any homes during a battle with wildfires that have swept through more than 80,000 acres in that area in the last two weeks.

“This is an epic battle to have as many fires as you have had, and as many acres as you have had, without losing a home,” Gore said. “This is a great testament to you all.”

Gore also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent $35 million in Florida and expects to spend another $35 million by the time the fires are out.

The wettest winter in Florida history was followed by the driest spring. The wetness created underbrush that would later fuel fires that have affected all of Florida.

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Since Memorial Day, fires have burned almost 237,000 acres--mostly forest and scrubby swampland. The fires have destroyed 78 houses but no one has been killed.


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