The California Fires: How to Help

With the California wildfires continuing to wreak havoc throughout the state, here's how to help the victims and the firefighters battling the blaze. 

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- Posted on Nov 13, 2018

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department chaplain Pastor Brian La Spade walks through properties in the Points Dume neighborhood of Malibu, California, where members of his congregation live, on November 10, 2018, after the Woolsey Fire tore through the neighborhood overnight. - Firefighters in California on Saturday battled raging blazes at both ends of the state that have left at least nine people dead and thousands of homes destroyed, but there was little hope of containing the flames anytime soon. More than 250

California is experiencing some of the deadliest wildfires in its history.

The Camp Fire in Northern California has taken the lives of 48 people so far, burning 125,000 acres and destroying over 7,200 structures, most of them homes located in the town of Paradise. The Camp Fire is the most lethal and destructive fire the state has ever faced, but it’s not the only natural disaster threatening residents right now.

To the South, the Woolsey Fire is ravaging parts of Malibu, the seaside community just west of Los Angeles. Two people have died in the blaze that’s charred over 96,000 acres and demolished 435 structures, threatening 57,000 more.

And the Hill Fire in Ventura County has scorched another 4,500 acres of land.

Firefighters across the state and from places as far away as Montana and Idaho are working to control the inferno. These brave men and women are serving around the clock, trying to trap the fires and force them to burn out before they can spread and do even more damage.

Not only do the first responders need your help, the victims of this disaster, people who’ve lost everything including their homes, are also in need. If you feel called to give aid to the people suffering in California right now the most helpful thing you can do is make a monetary donation, something plenty of organizations and nonprofits are asking for right now.

Here are ways you can help:

The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund
This organization has been helping California residents recover from devastating wildfires for 15 years, providing $5 million in aid. The organization is asking for donations that will help victims to rebuild homes, provide basic needs assistance, mental health services, and financial assistance.

IAFF’s Disaster Relief Fund
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents 315,000 firefighters and first responders. The organization is taking donations to help the men and women battling the blaze, many of whom have lost their own homes to the fires. Money donated will go toward financial as well as emotional support for the firefighters and their families affected.

American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is on the ground in California right now, opening shelters for people who have been displaced by the fires. The organization could use any monetary donations you can give to continue to provide temporary housing and to help residents “check in” to let their loved ones know they are safe.

Caring Choices
This nonprofit in Chico, California has been vital in organizing volunteers hoping to donate their time to those affected by the fires. They’re taking applications as well as monetary donations. If you’re interested in assisting victims now and in the coming months as recovery efforts continue, check them out.

Humane Society of Ventura County
The Humane Society of Ventura County is currently taking donations to help its staff house animals displaced by the fires. Because of the fast-moving nature of these fires, plenty of family pets and wildlife have been left behind and endangered. The Humane Society is caring for domestic animals as well as livestock caught in the path of the blaze.

Salvation Army
As always, the Salvation Army is also in the thick of things in California, providing meals to victims displaced by the fires. They’re feeding both residents and volunteers stationed at local churches, campgrounds, and community shelters.

No matter which organization you choose to donate to or volunteer with, please check their credentials—their history, who they help, etc.—with an accredited watchdog site. A good place to start is Charity Navigator.

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