Filipinos concerned by raging wild fires

by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

September 9, 2013

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – California is experiencing its driest season
on record and there are 11 major fires currently burning in the Golden
State, even before the usual peak of the fire season in September.

The wildfires in and around Yosemite National Park is now the third largest
in California history, destroying more than 100 buildings and injuring six.

The National Fire Protection Association said that in the last ten years,
brush and wildfires have burned over 50 million acres in America.
Firefighters said high winds, warmers temperatures and drought conditions
will only make the fire season worse.

Just before 2 p.m. on Saturday, a raging grass fire threatened about 100
homes, populated by many Filipinos in South San Francisco, California.
Firefighters are still investigating the cause of this four-alarm fire that
burned about 40 acres of dry vegetation on San Bruno Mountain. It took
about 125 firefighters two hours to contain the fire.

Filipino pediatrician Chi Co lives directly across the burning mountain.
“It was really scary. But when the fire trucks came, it calmed me down,” he
said.

Officials said residents reported hearing a big explosion and seeing flames
shoot up the hillside in different directions. Through fire fighters did
not conduct evacuations in the area, they made sure everyone was safe.

No injuries or damage were reported.

“We deployed some engines in place where the structures were to protect
them. And we were able to mitigate the fire before it got to them,” said
Scott Jalbert, Cal Fire Chief.

Filipino Robert Aragon was driving home from work, when he saw a large
plume of smoke in the air from the freeway. So he decided to see what was
going on and began taking videos. He said fire fighters definitely acted
fast.

“The fire was so close to the houses. I’m glad it got contained really
quick. There were fire departments from different cities coming here,” he
said.

Co said times like these make him appreciate the most important thing there
is.

“That’s our life. As long as we’re safe, property should only come next,”
he concluded.

For more information, you may contact Henni Espinosa at
henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com.

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