How to Help the Victims of California's Devastating Wildfires
Firefighters are still battling a series of deadly wildfires that have killed 41 people in Northern California. The fires have displaced thousands of Napa and Sonoma County residents who were forced to flee their homes with little warning on October 8, and many had no time to save their possessions as the wall of flames approached.
About 40,000 people remain evacuated, according to Cal Fire, but scores of heartbroken residents have returned to their communities to find nearly everything turned to ash. More than 11,000 firefighters are still battling the remaining blazes, which have torched over 200,000 acres in Sonoma and Napa counties and destroyed 5,700 homes and structures. Today, the fires still cover a 100-mile area.
From monetary donations to offering shelter, here are ways you can aid survivors and offer support to responders.
Thousands of residents are now without their homes in the aftermath of the fire and will be looking for shelter. If you are near the area and are safe, you can use Airbnb to provide free shelter to evacuees. Or, you can aid the Red Cross, which is opening up shelters and needs volunteers.
Donate Goods or Offer Financial Support to Non-Profits
GoFundMe has a dedicated page listing verified fire-related organizations and accounts of survivors, like Natasha Wallace, who says she lost everything during the fire in Santa Rosa and escaped with the bags she could carry on her bike.
“When people support voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure the right goods get to the right people at the right time following a disaster,” according to Cal Fire. Giving money will immediately help out a number of organizations in their relief efforts. Cash donations allow groups to quickly purchase supplies in ever-changing situations. Here are some trusted organizations to donate to:
There is also a Facebook page set up for survivors to make specific requests for goods they need. Food can be sent Community Action of Napa Valley, Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Fort Bragg Food Bank.
The California State Firefighter’s Association fund is set up to help firefighters who have lost homes during the devastation. You can also donate to the International Association of Firefighters charitable foundation and the Forestry Crab Feed Firefighter relief fund.