How You Can Help Victims Of California Wildfires

The three wildfires raging on both ends of California have exacted a staggering toll. Dozens of lives have been lost, tens of thousands have been displaced and entire neighborhoods — and at least one entire Northern California town — have been incinerated.

Officials warn that the disaster is far from over. The Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires remain largely uncontained. The death toll, which stood at 31 as of Sunday night, could rise as the fires continue and rescue workers search for people who are missing or dead.

High winds and critically dry conditions threaten to unleash more fires in parts of Southern California in the coming days and weeks, fire officials told The Associated Press. “We are in this for the long haul,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said.

From donating funds and supplies to opening your home to someone who’s lost theirs, here are some ways you can help the many thousands of people and animals impacted by the wildfires:

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Donate to nonprofits 

Several nonprofit organizations, such as the California Community Foundation, American Red Cross, California Fire Foundation, United Way of Greater Los Angeles and United Way of Northern California, are offering financial aid, medical care, food and shelter to victims. Donate money to these organizations directly. As the Center for International Disaster Information notes, monetary donations are usually the most efficient and effective way to help in the aftermath of a disaster. 

The Salvation Army Ventura Corps is accepting non-perishable food items. In Butte County, in-kind donations can be dropped off at the Municipal Auditorium in Oroville.

Baby2Baby is working specifically to distribute high-need items, like diapers and blankets, to children. Enloe Medical Center, a hospital in Chico, is accepting donations for people who have been displaced. 

Krystin Harvey, left, comforts her daughter Araya Cipollini at the remains of their home burned in the Camp Fire, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. The Camp Fire is California’s most destructive wildfire since record-keeping began.

Organizations like the Entertainment Industry FoundationDirect Relief and the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation are raising funds to support firefighters, health care providers and other emergency personnel. You can also donate directly to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Humane Society of Ventura County is helping animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill fires. You can support the organization’s efforts through donations, or you may purchase items and supplies through the society’s Amazon wish list. The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation also is accepting donations to support the area’s shelters.

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Facebook and Google are raising funds on their platforms for fire victims. Facebook has partnered with GlobalGiving. Donations to Google will be directed to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Firefighters Jason Toole, right, and Brent McGill with the Santa Barbara Fire Department walk among the ashes of a wildfire-ravaged home after turning off an open gas line on the property Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Malibu, Calif. 

Support crowdfunding 

GoFundMe has set up a page with a list of crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires. See it here


Caring Choices, based in Chico, is accepting applications for emergency volunteers. “We want to remind folks that this is a marathon and not a sprint. We will need more volunteers throughout the disaster response and recovery efforts,” the nonprofit wrote on its website.

Apply to be a Red Cross Volunteer. Or, if you’re trained to work with animals, volunteer to help the Humane Society of Ventura County care for evacuated animals. 

Check out the state-run California Volunteers website to see other volunteer opportunities and ways to help.  

John Honigsfeld surveys the damage to a neighbor’s property after a wildfire swept through Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Malibu, Calif.

Open your home    

Shelter an evacuee through Airbnb’s Open Home Program. More than 800 people have already opened their homes to evacuees in Ventura County.

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