MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said Filipinos in southern California should take necessary precautions and evacuate their homes if ordered by local authorities amid 3 "fast-moving" wildfires in their vicinity.
The DFA said it is closely monitoring the fires in Ventura County and two more in Los Angeles County, which could affect about 115,000 members of the Filipino community.
“Kababayans affected by the fires should not hesitate to get in touch with the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles if they need assistance,” Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
Cayetano also expressed solidarity with these Filipinos in praying that they "be spared from the raging infernos that are threatening their lives and their homes."
The fire in Ventura County to the west, known as the Thomas Fire, prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency after officials said 27,000 people were forced to evacuate and 45,500 acres and 150 buildings were destroyed.
There are about 25,800 Filipinos in this area, according to the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles.
The Philippine post is also monitoring the Creek Fire and the Rye Fire in Los Angeles County, which have already consumed more than 11,500 acres and remain out of control, said Consul General Adel Angelito Cruz.
The Creek Fire forced the closing of three schools while 11 schools and colleges were closed due to the Thomas Fire as winds pushed both blazes and their smoke toward the Pacific Ocean.
The DFA advised Filipinos who may be affected by the fires to contact the Philippine Consulate General at +1.213.268.9990 or +1.213.587.0758 for assistance. - with Reuters