How To Help The California Wildfire Victims, From Those Who Lost Their Homes To Firefighters & Even Local Animals
It's been just over a week since the Valley Fire ignited in northern California's Lake County and a week and a half since the nearby Butte Fire began, also in the northern part of the state. Both fires are finally over halfway contained, and mandatory evacuation restrictions have even been lifted for the Butte Fire. The state of California, however, continues to be in a state of emergency. Thousands of acres have been scorched, hundreds of homes have been decimated, and at least five people have died. The fight against the blazes isn't over and recovery efforts have only just begun. Here's how you can help those affected by the California wildfires.
There are many ways to make your donation count if you're looking to make a contribution to wildfire victims. The Red Cross tells northern California's KGO-TV that writing "Western Wildfire Relief Fund" in the memo portion of a check and mailing it to their San Francisco location at 1663 Market St, 94103 is the only way to ensure that your money goes directly to that particular cause. Donating online only allocates funds to local disaster relief. Those looking to donate specifically to Lake County, where the Valley Fire is still burning, have a variety of options thanks to the Lake County Local Assistance Center. The outpouring of support has been so strong that the LAC is no longer accepting physical items due to the sheer amount that has already been given. A fund has also been set up by the nonprofit Wine Country Animal Lovers to benefit animals affected by the Valley Fire as well.
For those looking to donate specifically to Butte Fire victims, the Calaveras Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund is accepting donations on the web and by mail. A Butte Fire donations Facebook page has also been set up for those nearby in the Stockton and Sacramento area who are able to drop off supplies and donations. The Salvation Army's mobile kitchen initiative has been serving both victims and fire personnel across northern California, providing meals to those affected by the fires. Donations can be as little or as much as you're able to give; there is no minimum amount or limit.
Firefighters have also been heavily affected by the blazes still wreaking havoc. As many as eight homes of firefighters currently battling the Valley Fire have burned, in addition to the hundreds more damaged and destroyed. A GoFundMe has been set up on behalf of those firefighters by the nonprofit Field of Dreams, Inc., who've worked directly with Cal Fire in their own fundraisers. Likewise, the California Fire Foundation is also accepting donations on an ongoing basis.
The destruction of both fires rank among the worst in California history. Another fire in the northern part of the state is now burning near Jamesburg in Monterey County, just south of San Francisco. There is no word on what, exactly, started that fire nor is has there been a confirmed cause of the Valley Fire. Investigators believe the Butte Fire may have been caused by a power line.
Even as firefighters continue to contain more and more of all three fires, some extra aid for both the community, many of whom are now homeless or are camping after evacuating their homes, and first responders is definitely needed and most certainly appreciated.