California wildfires threaten homes, families, even a major national park
California’s wildfires are still raging from the Oregon border, its spine against Nevada, and all the way down to cities pressed against Mexico.
Over 20 active fires are still being battled by firefighters, and as of Wednesday, state authorities have given estimates on their containment.
The Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California, which is now recorded as the largest fire in the state’s history, is at 68 percent contained.
The Holy Fire in Southern California, which has forced the evacuations of thousands, is now at 65 percent containment.
The deadly Ferguson Fire, which claimed the lives of first responders, and has threatened Yosemite National Park, is almost fully extinguished.
This is a video taken by Mark Cotin, a Filipino American resident of Lake Elsinore, the city in Southern California most ravaged by the Holy Fire.
He and his wife were forced to evacuate to safer ground late last week, when the flames came extremely near to their home.
“Nag-worry siyempre kasi kung bahay na iiwan namin may possibility na masunog at sa safety din naming bilang mag-asawa at mga kasama namin sa bahay,” said resident Rowena Cotin. “We decided na mag evacuate kami at dahil madami ding Pilipino at mga kaibigan naming nag reach-out para tumulong.”
The upper elevations of Temescal Canyon are still burning, but Ortega Highway, the vital link between Lake Elsinore and Orange County, has been reopened to through traffic Tuesday morning.
The Holy Fire sparked on August 6, leaving thousand of acres charred—but solidifying a community to help each other.
But Mark Cotin says the battle for homeowners continue even after all the fires have been snuffed—especially when it comes to fire insurance claims.
“If your house has not burned down, mahirap mag-claim. So ngayon, nakikipag asap kami sa lawfirm, at sila na ang mag aasikaso para mapalinis kung bahay, na like I said before, hindi naman nasunog, pero nandodoon pa din yung toxins ng mga ashes, we have to make sure as a homeowner, protektahan din naming ang mga sarili namin.”
As most of the nation are sending their kids to school, Lake Elsinore School District, along with the surrounding counties in the area, have delayed the first day of school to August 20th.
Now as the summer sun still beats down on Lake Elsinore, reaching temperatures in the 90’s and 100’s, no one is safe until the end of the fire season is finally over.