Thousands of people in California have been evacuated and face uncertainty as wildfires rage through the state.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE, reports that over 620,000 acres of land have been scorched by fast-moving wildfires this calendar year as emergency crews work to contain and extinguish the blazes. As of this writing, CAL FIRE’s fire map shows there are 15 active fires in California.
According to the Mercury News in San Jose, a few that continue are now pushing historic numbers. The Holy Fire in Cleveland National Forest was sparked on August 6 and is now at 21,473 acres and 29% contained, prompting California Governor Jerry Brown to most recently declare a state of emergency in Orange and Riverside counties earlier last week. The Carr Fire in Northern California, which has killed eight people and destroyed over 1,000 homes, is 55% contained since starting late last month and spans 186,416 acres. The Mendocino Complex Fire, which has been ongoing for 2 weeks and is now considered the largest wildfire in California state history, is 58% contained at 276,306 acres.
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Due to the destruction and displacement caused by the fires, donations are widely welcome and necessary for everything from evacuation, housing, food, transportation, and medical costs. For those looking to help affected Californians, there are a number of ways to get involved with various organizations and campaigns across the state.
Donate To Regional Organizations & Fundraisers
GoFundMe has hundreds of fundraisers posted by people impacted by the fire; the site has curated lists of verified campaigns to help those affected in the Carr Fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, and the Holy Fire, as well as campaigns posted from throughout Southern California.
The Salvation Army’s Northern and Southern California branches are accepting monetary donations, all of which they say will go directly to relief efforts. The organization has deployed disaster response crews to assist displaced individuals and emergency responders with food and shelter.
The Wildland Firefighter Association and Firefighters Charitable Foundation are fundraising to support medical costs for firefighters working to put out the wildfires, along with gathering donations for families of first responders killed on the front lines.
Hundreds of American Red Cross workers have set up temporary shelters and food sites across the state, especially in Northern California, and have so far sheltered thousands of displaced individuals. Red Cross donors can specifically request their donation goes towards California wildfire relief efforts.
CNN's Impact Your World connects people to donate to different local aid organizations, including Community Foundation Sonoma County (which funds Sonoma County charities), Convoy of Hope (which supports the local homeless population), and Operation BBQ Relief (which brings food to displaced communities).
The United Way of Northern California and The Shasta Regional Community Foundation have established fire relief funds in Shasta County. United Way accepts donations via web and by texting CARRFIRE to 91999, which will reply with options for giving. The SRCF reminds donors that donations to them and other nonprofit organizations are “tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.”
Volunteer With Local Relief Efforts
The state of California’s California Volunteers initiative has compiled a list of on-the-ground volunteering and donation opportunities for the Carr, Mendocino Complex, Ferguson, and Cranston fires.
The California Community Foundation has curated a list of information and resources, including volunteering opportunities and fundraisers, to help the homeless in Southern California who have been affected by the wildfires. The organization is also working to rebuild homes and offer medical and mental health support in the aftermath of the fires.
Facebook has set up crisis response pages for the Carr, Mendocino Complex, and Holy fires, which curate local news, fundraisers, and calls for supplies and item donations. Users in the area are also able to check in as “safe” for friends to see.
The Haven Humane Society has evacuated hundreds of pets and strays in the Northern California area, requiring volunteers, donations, and foster homes to help transport, house, and care for local cats and dogs. In Southern California, Los Angeles Animal Service has put out an urgent call for foster homes.