(CNN) -- CNN demanded and obtained the removal of a fake Web page that copied the design and style of CNN.com and carried a false story blaming the California wildfires on "radical Hispanic separatists."
CNN took action immediately over the weekend, when reports of the hoax surfaced. The page, which was picked up and reported on as real by several bloggers, resulted in complaints to CNN.
"Given the sensitivity of the situation in the state of California, we believe it is necessary to set the record straight that the fake news story implicating 'a Hispanic separatist organization' in causing the wildfires is a hoax," CNN said in a written statement. "Based on the gross misuse of the CNN brand, we demanded that the Web service provider hosting the page on which the fake story appears pull it immediately, and they are cooperating."
The fires have scorched more than 500,000 acres and were the direct cause of seven deaths, according to officials. They also destroyed more than 1,600 homes. Damage could run into the billions of dollars. E-mail to a friend