As California Wildfires Claim 17 Lives and Burn 122,000 Acres, the Victims Need Your Help (Video)
In a season already impacted by natural disasters, parts of California have been devastated as deadly wildfires rage across the state, from Sonoma to Anaheim.
The fires have burned more than 122,000 acres of land and have claimed 17 lives, CNN reports. Many of the blazes started on Sunday, escalating quickly and forcing more than 20,000 people to evacuate from their homes.
The number of evacuations could continue to rise as the fast-moving fires spread. TIME reports that, when combined, these fires are already some of the deadliest in California history.
Residents currently seeking refuge in emergency shelters, TIME reported, were shocked by how quickly and violently the flames spread, leaving victims with little time — or in tragic cases no time — to flee their homes in the path of destruction.
While firefighters are working overtime, and President Trump has signed a major disaster declaration to grant fire management assistance to the state, there is already significant damage and likely more to come.
Whether you live nearby or on the other side of the country, there are a few ways you can help victims of the fires.
- The Red Cross is asking for local volunteers to help fire evacuees, and also accepting donations from those who can’t physically help.
- Petaluma officials are asking people to donate supplies, including baby food, pet food, water, blankets, and toilet paper, to evacuation centers, Fast Company reports. Click here for a full list of drop-off locations.
- California food banks are looking for donations. Find a full list of food banks in your area here.
- The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is accepting donations here.
- Airbnb’s Open Homes program is looking for locals who are willing to welcome victims into their homes for free, and connecting them with people who need safe housing from October 8 to October 30. You can click here to see if you’re home is within the area of need.
- Numerous GoFundMe pages have also been set up to help the fire victims for those who want to contribute to a specific cause or to general relief.
- Donate to other local animal shelters like the Humane Society of Sonoma County and the Humane Society of Napa County. A non-profit animal rescue center, the Milo Foundation, has also said it is ready to receive animals displaced by the fires.
- Support 20 particularly vulnerable families who have lost their homes by donating to a fundraiser started by the North Bay Indo-American Association. They hope to meet their goal of $50,000, and you can help here.
Additionally, officials are urging people to call 911 only for emergencies, not for information.