Over three weeks from its onset, Northern California’s Camp Fire was finally contained on Sunday, November 25th, 2018, after ravaging over 150,000 acres of land. Together with the Woolsey Fire in the south, which also started on November 8th, 2018, these flames burned over 240,000 acres of California land. The Camp Fire alone wiped Paradise, CA off the map, took at least 85 lives in Butte County, demolished over 18,000 structures, and claimed the title as the deadliest, most destructive wildfire in California’s history.
Survivors have lost everything:
A sense of peace.
Confidence in the future.
Illness has spread throughout shelters due to the smoke from the fire. Additionally, although rain over the last few days has helped contain the fire, it brings risk for debris flow and flash flooding. A great deal of uncertainty lies ahead for those affected by this tragedy.
However, there are ways each of us can help.
FEMA has been working to provide relief to those in need. Although FEMA does not accept donations because it is a government agency, it has been working with several non profits to provide much needed aid to those affected. Cash donations to organizations approved by National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are a practical way to support survivors who must pay for new housing situations, but do not currently have any place to put bulkier items such as clothing donations.
Another way to support the survivors is to volunteer for relief efforts and to donate blood if you are in the area. You can do so by signing up online with Red Cross.
According to NBC News, below are a few organizations working with survivors that are currently accepting donations:
- California Fire FoundationDistributes $250 gift cards to those who lost at least 25% of their house
- United Way (Greater Los Angeles and Northern California)
- Providing immediate financial aid and long term recovery
- California Community FoundationHelping long term recovery and supporting mental health services
- North Valley Community FoundationOffers grocery and other gift cards
- Ventura County Community FoundationProvides a platform for survivors to apply for and receive funds
- Open Homes program via AirBNB
- Allows you to donate a provisional living space if you have property near the affected areas
If you are interested in hearing some survivors’ personal stories and learning more about the Camp Fire, please feel free to review the links below.