By Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com
WILD Fire: There were 15 major fires this past week in Southern California. The areas affected were in Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, Agua Dulce (Santa Clarita), Malibu, Martin Ranch (San Bernardino), Devore, Grass Valley (Lake Arrowhead), Green Valley Lake, Santiago (East Orange County), Ammo/ Horno (Camp Pendleton Marine Base), Rosa (Temecula), Rice (Fallbrook), Mt. Palomar (San Diego), Witch (Poway) and Harris (San Diego).
Damage: More than 485,000 acres were burned and 4,400 homes or structures lost as of press time. So far, the fires left more than $1 billion in damages. More than 500,000 people had to be evacuated. Seven people have been reported died although only a couple of the fatalities were killed directly by the fires.
Tax Relief: The Franchise Tax Board announced several relief measures to the victims of wildfires in seven Southern California Counties. The FTB will allow victims to receive additional tax refunds this year by immediately reporting their disaster losses through amended 2006 returns. For more information, go to FTB’s website http://www.ftb.ca.gov.
Reaching Out: The Los Angeles Philippine Consulate General has opened an emergency line for Filipino Nationals affected by the Southern California wild fires.
Filipino nationals who are affected and need assistance can call (213) 268-9990.
Orange County Hotline: The Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC) is also working with local emergency responders to help the victims of Orange County’s wild fire. Members of the Asian Pacific Islander community who are affected by the wild fires can call (800) 660-4232.
San Diego Hotline: Former Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of San Diego President Carmelita “C. L.” Larrabaster-Vinson has opened her home and office in Chula Vista to those who have evacuated their homes. She can be reached at (619) 948-2459.