Here’s How You Can Help with the California Wildfires

As wildfires rage across the Golden State, here are a few ways you can volunteer or donate to the relief efforts

Since the 15th of August there have been 12,000 lightning strikes in California, touching off 615 new wildfires. With 1.3 million acres and 1,200 homes and buildings burned across the state, California is in a state of emergency. Trump has released federal aid to help and neighbouring states have sent supplies and people to help try to contain the fires that are ripping through cities, towns and rural areas.

California wildfires – AP News
California wildfires. Image: AP News

The normal wildfire season in California is September and October. But the climate crisis is triggering extreme weather conditions that set the stage for natural disasters like this one.

This brilliant piece in The Guardian summarises the confluence of factors leading to the wildfires: a heat wave with temperatures in Death Valley, CA, spiking to 130F; a tropical storm triggering lightning storms; low humidity and high wides; and first-of-its-kind fire tornado – ‘a 30,000 smoky swirl that frizzled with lightning’.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said: ‘We are dealing with different climate conditions that are precipitating in fires the likes we haven’t seen in modern recorded history.’

The heroic firefighters and volunteers working on the ground – as well as the homeowners and businesses who have lost everything – need our help.

CalFire Battalion Chief Matt Wallen

Here’s what you can do:

Volunteer with the Red Cross

The Red Cross is looking for shelter volunteers to help support the shelters and evacuation sites in California. If you’re local, in good health and willing to deploy for up to 14 days, sign up as a volunteer.

Donate to the California Fire Foundation

Providing emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.

Donate to the California Community Foundation

Supporting both immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery efforts for those affected by California wildfires.

Donate to the Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

The Community Foundation has established the Fire Response Fund to support our county’s residents who are affected. Donations to the fund will be distributed to nonprofit agencies and organisations directly assisting individuals to meet needs as they arise.

Donate to the United Farm Workers Relief Fund

The farm workers harvested food in the midst of the wildfires are putting their health at risk. Your donation can help provide masks, food, toiletries, toys and more for those affected by the fires.

California wildfires. Image: United Farm Workers
California wildfires. Image: United Farm Workers

Donate to the UC Davis Veterinary Catastrophic Need Fund to help animals

Provides veterinary medical treatments for animals that are injured in wildfires, natural disaster or other accidents

Donated to individuals through the GoFundMe’s centralised hub for the California Wildfires

Identifying all verified fundraisers created to help residents who have lost their homes and have been displaced by the fires.

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