Southern California residents advised to “be ready to go” as wildfires continue to roar
admin • December 8, 2017 • 3714
Authorities feared the four major fires — ranging from Los Angeles up the Pacific coast to Santa Barbara County – would be whipped up by the region’s notorious westward Santa Ana winds that could reach hurricane strength.
“The prediction is even though this is a period of calm winds that we will continue to get gusts through Saturday that will be erratic and unpredictable, as high as 50-70 miles and hour [about 80-110 KPH]. As the chief said yesterday, these conditions combined with the heat that is now coming to the area, the dryness, the amount of vegetation that someone of the areas that have not burned, makes this still a very threatening environment. So even as you see inroads being made we are going to have an abundance of caution. We want to make sure that you are safe and that we don’t order people back to their homes or allow people back to their homes any earlier than possible,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The national weather service said Santa Ana winds were blowing on Thursday afternoon, and the California state fire agency said gusty winds and extremely low humidity would continue through Sunday.
Wildfires roared through canyons, hillsides and residential areas in densely populated southern California for a fourth day on Thursday.
Thousands of people have evacuated ahead of the fires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced hundreds of Los Angeles-area schools to close.
“Our biggest nightmare has been the palm tree farm back there. And you know, they are so you know prone to lighting on fire. They are just torches basically. So we’ve been watching that very closely and then this morning, of course, the wind and the sparks got together and burned them all up,” Mandy Dugan, a local resident.
Filipinos were among the evacuees from affected counties. Three of them are staying at Sylmar evacuation center in San Fernando Valley.
Ricardo Victoria said that the authorities ordered forced evacuation as the wildfire came very close to their homes.
Ricardo said other Filipinos were brought to different centers for safety. Representatives of Filipino organizations and the Philippine Consulate are constantly communicating with Los Angeles authorities to check and verify on the situation of Filipinos affected by the wildfire,” said the evacuee.
The Los Angeles local government has set up 16 evacuation centers to where affected residents can stay and four more centers for pets and other animals.
The red zones remain under mandatory evacuations and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized very strongly and clearly to the residents to be ready to go and do not hesitate to leave when necessary. — Reuters
While most public schools across the country will begin the new school year with online education in the fall, private schools in Los Angeles are preparing to open their classroom doors to students for face-to-face learning.
At St. Benedict School in Montebello, one of 200 private schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, classrooms have been adjusted for social distancing, with cardboard partitions on top of desks to keep students apart. Class sizes have also been modified and temperature checks will be carried out when lessons resume on September 9.
Principal Frank Loya Jr. told Reuters on Tuesday (July 14) his teachers are eager to return to school, after facing difficulties teaching from home.
“Very challenging because the majority of my teachers have children. So, they’re also teaching their class, their students in their classroom. Plus, since their children are at home also, they had to be teaching, directing them. Some of their children attend public school and some of them attend St. Benedict also. So, all that adjustment, I think, as teachers were very stressed,” he said.
A few miles away at St. Joseph School in La Puente, classrooms, restrooms and water fountains are being rebuilt to comply with new COVID-19 guidelines. The school had already planned renovations prior to the pandemic but with additional funding, they decided to expand further.
St. Joseph School currently has 200 students enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year
“Education isn’t the same when you’re not in a classroom setting,” said principal Luis Hayes. “When children are at home, it’s hard to have classroom management, and the student level of engagement changes. So, when you’re in a classroom setting and when you’re with the teacher, you have the classroom management and you have the engagement piece,” he said.
Hayes said there’s an vitally important emotional that comes with in-person instruction.
“For students to come back to school, it’s important that we give them that social emotional aspect and we give them time where they know how to socialize, but they know how to do it safely. And we practice all the social distancing,”
There are approximately 73,000 students enrolled in 200 schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the new school year.
Tuition cost ranges from $5,000 for primary schools up to $11,437 for high school. (Reuters)
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday (July 13) ordered a massive retrenchment of the state’s reopening on Monday, shutting bars and banning indoor restaurant dining statewide and closing churches, gyms, and hair salons in hardest-hit counties.
Newsom’s move, which undoes weeks of reopening efforts in parts of the most populous U.S. state, comes as several rural counties are experiencing strains to their hospital systems, while cases mount in large metropolitan areas including Los Angeles and parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The surge in cases has also prompted two of California’s largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, to announce that they will be online only in the new term. In addition, neighboring Oregon is mandating the use of protective masks outdoors as local leaders around the United States scramble to curb a rising number of coronavirus cases nationwide.
The number of people hospitalized in California with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has risen by 28% over the past two weeks, with a 20% increase in those needing intensive care, Newsom said at a conference call with reporters in the state capital of Sacramento.
Statewide, 6,485 patients were hospitalized with coronavirus as of Sunday, with 1,833 of them requiring intensive care, according to state data. (Reuters)
REUTERS – Apple Inc said on Wednesday (July 1) that it would re-close more than two dozen stores in seven states, including its home state of California, bringing the total closures to 77 as coronavirus cases continue to rise.
Starting Thursday (July 2), stores will close in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.
As of Wednesday, additional stores had already closed in Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Utah.
Apple has taken an city-by-city approach to opening and closing stores, evaluating data for each community.
In cities where stores remain open, Apple requires face coverings for employees and customers while also performing temperature checks and frequent cleaning, the company said.
Apple has said its retail employees will continue to be paid through the closures. (Production: Angela Moore)
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