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Brooks fired up for benefit concerts

Los Angeles_Officially, he's retired, but Garth Brooks admits you might not know it by watching him. On Friday, Brooks takes the stage for a nationally televised concert at the Staples Center to benefit victims of last year's Southern California wildfires and firefighters. He'll perform a second show there about an hour later, and three more on Saturday.

"I'm from Oklahoma," the country music superstar said Thursday. "I know a lot about grass fires. I know a lot about wind and fire. I've never, ever seen wind and fire like I saw on the television."

All proceeds from the "Garth Brooks Live In L.A!" concerts will be donated to the "Southern California 2008 Fire Intervention Relief Effort (F.I.R.E.)." The money will go to agencies helping victims and first responders and provide financial assistance to state firefighting departments.

The tickets, which cost $41, sold out in less than an hour, organizers said. The first hour of the first concert will be broadcast live on CBS, with viewers encouraged to call in and make pledges to F.I.R.E.

Brooks, 45, announced his retirement in 2001, saying he would not return to work until his youngest child, Allie, turned 18. She is now 8. He has two other daughters, Taylor, 12, and August, 10.

Last November, his compilation set, "The Ultimate Hits," was released. It's been certified five-times platinum.

Brooks said now that that project is complete, "we're getting ready to now drop off the face of the earth musically. Charity-wise, it never stops."

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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