VENTURA, CA — Several wildfires have hit the south lands with the Santa Ana winds helping fan the flames.
The latest is a traffic crippling fire in West Los Angeles along the 405 freeway.
The Skirball fire burned along the 405 freeway.
A stretch of the 405 — one of Southern Californias main arteries — was closed off during rush hour.
Nearby homes had been given evacuation orders.
In Ventura, home to some 28,000 Filipinos, over 50 thousand acres had been scorched.
Smoke can still be seen and smelled from the gutted Hillside Farms that sit just outside of downtown Ventura, which has become a powerless ghost town.
The Creek fire hit closer to Los Angeles, in the heavily Filipino populated San Fernando Valley area.
The sounds of fire trucks were common as masked residents made their way through the dense smog.
The Helping Hands adult day health care center is at the border within the Creek Fire’s danger zone.
But the flames couldn’t put out their game of bingo as they found refuge in the center.
“We were thing kung uwi sila pero mukhang mas Safe Ng lugar naito kesa dun sa bahay nila kasi na susuffocate din sila dun. Tapos na bigay namin sila mga mask so now subside yata sa ibang parts,” said Henjie Pimenta, Helping Hands.
But behind the masks, some concerns, many of them live in the danger zone or far from the 11,000-acre fire, where they worry about their families and their own health.
“Na Amoy namin parang may nag luluto sunog. Yung azul an dun. Kaya nag andar humidifier,” said Cress Go.
And for better or worse, they’re ready to take action.
“If in case kailangan nila evacuation place we can open the place for everyone,” said Pimenta. “Kung kailangan ready din ma evacuate din kami.”
Two more fire had sprung up in Southern California, one in Valencia, another in San Bernardino County.
The Philippine consulate is monitoring the situation and will be ready to help any nationals that may be affected by the wildfires.
A state of emergency has been declared in Ventura County, while the declaration can help bring aid.
One thing that’s not helping are the winds that continue to be a threat to not only containment but has the potential to spark even more fires.