How to Help West Coast Wildfire Victims and Firefighters As Death Toll Climbs
At least 35 people have been killed in the West Coast wildfires and several more are missing as blustery winds threaten to complicate firefighting efforts, according to reports.
Wildfire fatalities have been spread throughout three states with 24 people having died in California, 10 people killed in Oregon, and one person killed in Washington, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Several more remain missing and authorities have said the death toll could rise.
Thousands of homes have burned as a result of the record-setting blazes, as hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate and the skies have turned an “apocalyptic” orange, resulting in worsening air quality. In fact, air quality from California to Washington consistently measured above 100 on the Air Quality Index — and often rose into the 400s and 500s, which result in health warnings of emergency conditions — according to PurpleAir, which monitors air quality in real-time.
While wet weather is expected to start late Monday and continue until Wednesday, only spotty showers are forecasted, according to AccuWeather. The humidity, however, should help firefighters gain ground on active fires and prevent some new fires from starting.
But blustery winds from the south of the storm system coupled with no rainfall across Northern California could increase the danger. And potential lightning poses yet another concern.
Unfortunately, California’s wildfire season is far from over with its peak typically running from May through October, AccuWeather noted. So far, wildfires have burned a record of more than 3.1 million acres in California alone, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CAL FIRE.
However, there are ways to help victims of these raging fires.
People can donate or volunteer to assist victims who were forced to evacuate with organizations like the American Red Cross. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s California Wildfires Recovery Fund is also accepting donations as is the United Way, which has branches in Northern California, Mid-Willamette Valley in Oregon, and Whitman County in Washington.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to benefit impacted individuals, organizations, and communities through grants.
In addition, people can donate to help first responders through the California Fire Foundation, which helps families of fallen firefighters, as well as provides gift cards through its SAVE program to victims to buy basic necessities like food and clothing.
And to help feed both firefighters and evacuees, José Andrés’ global nonprofit World Central Kitchen is accepting donations as well.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.