Since November 8th, Californians have been battling two massive wildfires. In the northern part of the state, the Camp Fire became the deadliest blaze in California history, almost completely destroying the town of Paradise near Sacramento. And to the south, the Woolsey Fire near Thousand Oaks forced thousands to evacuate. Both wildfires have now been contained, but the communities affected are still reeling in the aftermath of the destruction.
ABC News reports that the Woolsey Fire was fully contained by the evening of November 21st, while the Camp Fire took until November 25th to contain. The Camp Fire burned down 13,972 homes and 528 commercial buildings, and an estimated 85 people died in the inferno (with hundreds still missing). The Woolsey Fire killed three people and destroyed 1,500 structures.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help.
1 Check crowdfunding and social media sites
Several GoFundMe pages have been set up on behalf of families who lost their homes in the fires, like Frank and Elizabeth Solors and Leann Ballentine. These pages are good ways to give money directly to people who need it, and allow you to choose to assist people in specific ways. Some social media sites can also provide good ways to help, such as the Facebook group Paradise Fire Adopt a Family, which connects survivors of the Camp Fire to people who are willing and able to offer support.
2Donate to relief organizations
Giving money to dedicated relief organizations and charities can also be a good way to aid California wildfire victims. One such organization is the United Way of Northern California, which is currently offering emergency cash grants to survivors and assisting other nonprofits in their programs. The California Community Foundation also has a wildfire relief fund set up, and 100% of donations to the fund will be used to benefit victims of the fire. The American Red Cross is another trustworthy charity. And Direct Relief is currently providing survivors and first responders with masks, medicine, and other aid.
To donate directly to firefighters and other first responders, you can give money to the California Fire Foundation.
3 Offer your time or space
If you live close to the areas affected by the Woolsey and Camp fires, you can register on Airbnb to host people displaced by these natural disasters. You can also volunteer in person through organizations like the Chico-based Caring Choices and the Red Cross. If you have experience working with horses, you can volunteer to help displaced animals through the Humane Society of Ventura County.