Visit California, industry partners working together on crisis response as wildfires burn

Visit California, industry partners working together on crisis response as wildfires burn

SACRAMENTO — Visit California has activated its Crisis Communications Plan as massive wildfires – including the Thomas fire, now burning across 230,000 acres and the fifth-largest wildfire in California’s history – spread across Southern California.

Wildfires continue to threaten California communities and Visit California and industry partners are working hand-in-hand on crisis response.

The situation remains “volatile” in Southern California, prompting Visit California to amplify and extend the messages of its local partners in the affected region.

The www.visitcalifornia.com website, call centre and social media channels are communicating accurate and up-to-date information to potential visitors around the world.

Meanwhile, to inform ongoing response efforts Visit California’s network of international offices and global agencies are analyzing media coverage and monitoring the conversation on social media.

All 13 international offices are working with travel trade partners in each market, providing the latest information on areas impacted by the fires.

Visit California is also in close contact with the Governor’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services.

Visit California says it is not proactively issuing statements while fires are actively burning. However in addition to connecting travellers with local partners and official sources for the latest on-the-ground information, Visit California is communicating that fires are not affecting travel in most areas of the state:

  • Road closures and evacuations are limited to a few areas in California
  • Most tourism regions are unaffected by the fires
  • All gateway airports are open
  • There is an abundance of activities and attractions available for visitors

Visit California also wants the travel industry to know that it’s available for help with crisis messaging development or communicating to visitors. Industry partners can connect with the industry liaison in their region, plus Visit California’s Director of Engagement Amber Rich is also a primary point of contact for industry partners. She can be reached at arich@visitcalifornia.com.

The Thomas fire is threatening thousands of homes as it churns through coastal mountains amid persistently dangerous weather conditions.

Red Flag warnings for fire danger due to Santa Ana winds and a critical lack of moisture were extended into the week instead of expiring Monday afternoon as was initially forecast.

“It doesn’t get much drier than this folks,” the National Weather Service tweeted, adding that more than 80 observation sites in the region reported afternoon relative humidity levels between just 1 and 9%.

The Thomas fire – just one of several fires burning in Southern California, but by far the largest – has destroyed at least 683 homes. It was partially contained after burning 937 square kilometres of dry brush and timber.

 

With files from The Associated Press