USA — To aid in the ongoing wildfire relief efforts in California, president-elect Barack Obama is converting his successful campaign website into a virtual support center. The website aims to spur local volunteer action and solicit donations for the hundreds of families whose homes were engulfed by the late-season flames.
At last count, the wind-driven wildfires have charred roughly 40,000 acres and destroyed more than 800 Southern California homes. While firefighters continue to quell stubborn portions of the fire, the focus is quickly shifting to recovery, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Obama for America homepage (barackobama.com) has since tried to mobilize its readership in an effort to help the growing number of victims in Southern California.
“Together we can help the victims of the Southern California fires,” the site says in a font reminiscent of Obama’s popular ‘Yes, we can’ slogan.
Obama contacted California Gov. Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Sunday to share his concern and receive an update on the situation, according to the president-elect’s transition office.
“Together we can help the victims of the Southern California fires,” the site says. It includes a link to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Volunteers website (californiavolunteers.org), where people can sign up to volunteer or donate to the Red Cross or Salvation Army.
As of Tuesday morning, firefighters had contained 95 percent of the 1,940-acre “Tea fire,” which burned through scores of luxury homes across the celebrity haven of Montecito on Thursday. The Sayre fire was 64 percent contained and the Freeway Complex fire was 40 percent contained.
“This has been a terrible, trying time for the families,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
“We’ve all seen the images on TV, but no one knows that better than the people who have lost their homes. No words can describe the size of this devastation. The truth is we haven’t seen a fire of this magnitude in decades.” Villaraigosa said.
BOTTOM LINE WEATHER POINTS Fires charred approximately 40,000 acres and destroyed more than 800 homes. Wind-driven flames gradually being contained; focus now shifting to recovery. Obama converts campaign website into support network for CA. wildfire victims.