Conservative actor James Woods is helping people search for their missing relatives in the massive wildfires burning through California by using his massive reach on social media.
The Emmy-Award winning and Oscar-nominated actor has more than 1.8 million followers on Twitter, where he goes as @RealJamesWoods. He’s been retweeting messages he’s received from people looking for family members that have then been retweeted, reaching thousands more.
“To all my wonderful followers,” Woods posted late Thursday. “I want to thank you for your extraordinary efforts tonight connecting people with lost loved ones in the terrible #CampFire. Your thousands of retweets of invaluable information literally saved lives. God bless you all.”
Woods’ tweets have actually found people.
The so-called Camp Fire now covers more than 70,000 acres and raced through Paradise, a town of 26,000, killing at least five people. Several more towns and cities about 120 north of Sacramento are now threatened by the fire. Meanwhile, firefighters are battling a fast-moving wildfire in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, known as the Woolsey fire. Some 30,000 homes lie in that fire’s path and strong winds are fanning the flames.
“The wind-whipped conditions … this is ripe conditions for explosive fire behavior,” LAFD Capt. Erik Scott told NBC News. “This is the new normal. When we have conditions like this, when it’s such incredible wind, that brings us in to a different caliber, so it’s become a much more challenging condition.”
Woods also set up a way for people to communicate better for the Woolsey fire.
“People have requested I do a hashtag for missing persons in the fires now raging in Southern California, like we did for the #CampFire. I’ll use #SoCalFiresJamesWoods People can exchange info using that hashtag on @Twitter searching for the missing or to announce they are safe,” he wrote.
And he suggested to Twitter how it might “develop a model for online volunteers to assist in future disasters.”
Twitter users expressed their appreciation for Woods’ efforts.