THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday that a Filipino was one among those who perished in the wildfire currently engulfing North California’s wine country.
The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco reported to the DFA that the Filipino’s remains, which have yet to be positively identified, were recovered on October 14 in Napa Country.
“We offer our sincere sympathies and prayers to the family of our kababayan who perished in this horrific fire. I have instructed our Consulate General in San Francisco to offer all possible assistance to the family and to continue to closely monitor the welfare of other Filipinos in the affected areas,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano in a statement.
Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalon said the Consulate General in San Francisco has been in touch with the victim’s family and has offered assistance, especially in coordinating arrangements for the repatriation of the victim’s remains.
“We also continue to communicate with the Filipino community through our social media advisories, and have offered consular assistance to Filipinos affected by the wildfires," he said.
Approximately 100,000 people have been evacuated from the fires. More than 10,000 firefighters are currently battling 16 large wildfires that, in total, have burned over 214,000 acres (more than 86,600 hectares).
The fires have destroyed 5,700 structures and have claimed at least 40 lives.
There are an estimated 13,500 Filipinos living in the Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba counties, which are the areas most affected by the wildfires. An estimated 4,200 Filipinos live in the other affected counties of Lake, Marin and Mendocino.
As of October 14, the DFA said red flag warnings remained in effect across Northern California due to strong north winds, which have increased fire activity.
Dry, windy, and hot conditions from late spring through autumn cause periodic wildfires in California. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)