A FORMER Stonehaven resident hopes his chances of winning a major music award in San Diego this weekend are not sent up in smoke by the devastating California wildfires.

Southern California has been badly hit by a host of raging infernos in recent days, which propelled forward by strong winds, have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

In San Diego County alone, almost 350,000 houses have been evacuated.

The region is now home to Colin Clyne, a former pupil of Mackie Academy, who himself is providing shelter to friends who have been required to leave their own properties.

The crisis in California could not have come at a worse time for Colin, who has been nominated in the Best New Acoustic Act category at the 2007 San Diego HAT Awards, which honour acoustic talent.

Over the past year, the guitarist and singer has taken the local music scene by storm through gigs featuring tracks from his debut album, Songs From The Cold Store.

The title for the CD is a reference to the cold store on a ship Colin worked on in the Artic Circle where the songs were penned.

The HAT Awards are set to take place on Saturday night at the Normal Heights Community Centre.

Anyone is eligible to vote and Colin would be delighted if he received some support from his homeland.

He said: "People can vote for in the awards by going to and all they need is a valid e-mail address.

"I'm hoping that this ceremony will go ahead as we are having very bad fires here and a lot of people have been evacuated from their homes.

"In fact we have a house full of evacuated friends just now who are all playing guitar and drinking beer.

"Hopefully the show will go ahead and it would be nice if anyone who knows me or saw me on my recent UK tour could vote for me before the weekend."