REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Philippine consulate officials in San Francisco said they have reached out to the Filipino community in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties that have been placed under a state of emergency by California Governor Jerry Brown because of raging wildfires. The Valley Fire began creating havoc over the weekend, about 115 miles of Sacramento.
So far, the Valley Fire has killed one person and several others are still unaccounted for. Authorities said at least a thousand homes, buildings and other structures have been destroyed by the flames. They claimed that number could still increase as they make their way through burned areas. The wildfire has ravaged 61,000 acres and is only five percent contained.
Scott Mclean, battalion chief of Cal Fire said, “This is people’s lives. You see the rocking chair over there. You see the tub. You see the barbecues…it’s the remnants of somebody’s life.”
More than 3,000 firefighters are fighting the blaze, as deputies from 23 agencies respond to the request for aid. Shelters have also been set up in surrounding areas to accommodate the thousands of evacuees.
“I’m happy I’m alive and I’m happy this place is being offered as a tremendous asset for people who are struggling right now.” said Allan Gleicher, who was evacuated from Middletown.
While Philippine officials are still trying to determine how many Filipinos were impacted by the wildfire, here are some figures they could give on the Filipino population in affected counties, based on the 2010 U.S. census: Lake County – 264, Sonoma County, – 3,693, Napa – 5,824.
For now, Balitang America has confirmed that one Filipino named Arlene Azarcon, has lost three properties because of the wildfire — two homes in Middletown and a cabin in Cobb county. Arlene is on vacation right now in Spain and will not be back in the Bay Area until September 25.
Her family said they are glad she wasn’t around to witness her properties getting destroyed by the fire. They added that despite what she lost, she stays positive and hopeful that she, and the rest of the victims, can pick up the pieces and survive this tragedy.
You may contact Henni Espinosa at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.