California contains half of wildfires: PH Consulate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2017 03:47 PM

Fire fighters attack the Thomas Fire’s north flank with backfires as they continue to fight a massive wildfire north of Los Angeles, near Ojai , California, US, Saturday. Gene Blevins, Reuters

Firefighters across Southern California have contained three of six wildfires that have killed at least one person, destroyed hundreds of buildings and forced more than 200,000 people from their homes this week, the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles said Sunday. 

'Pag sinabi pong contained na, wala na pong usok... Kumbaga, remnants na lang siya, wala nang apoy basically," Vice Consul Rainer Casis told DZMM. 

(When we say a fire has been contained, it means that there is no more smoke. In other words, only remnants remain and the fire itself has been put out.) 

The dry Santa Ana winds that have fueled the blazes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have abated slightly, allowing firefighters to get the upper hand, he added. 
 
Casis said California authorities have yet to identify the first fatality while the Philippine Consulate has not received reports of any Filipino injured or killed in the fast-moving fires. 

"Noong kinontact namin ang Filipino community that's within the area ng wildfire, usually ang problema lang nila is smoke inhalation kasi pumapasok ang usok sa bahay nila," he said. 

(When we contacted the Filipino community that's within the area ng wildfire, they said their usual problem was smoke inhalation because the smoke has engulfed their homes.) 

The fires could affect about 115,000 members of the Filipino community, the Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said. 

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US President Donald Trump has issued a federal proclamation that enables agencies to coordinate relief efforts.
 
This week's fires have destroyed nearly 800 buildings, mostly in Ventura County where the Thomas Fire, the largest blaze, erupted on Monday.

Officials said that by Saturday the Thomas Fire had charred 59,893 hectares, an area about the size of Chicago. As evening approached, the blaze was most active north of the small city of Ojai, north of Ventura, known for its classical music festival and its spas. Ojai itself was not threatened, officials said.

At their peak, the fires drove about 212,000 Californians from their homes. The lifting of several evacuation orders reduced the number of people displaced from their homes to 87,000 on Saturday.

Visibility improved in Ventura early on Saturday, with blue skies returning as strong winds blew smoke out to sea. -- With Reuters 

DZMM, 10 November 2017