How to Help Those Affected by the West Coast Wildfires
Large fires are currently burning in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Right now, massive wildfires are raging in California, Oregon, and Washington. Especially warm, dry conditions fueled by climate change, as well as lightning strikes and even a gender reveal party have all contributed to the devastating wildfires, which at the time of writing have killed 35 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and burned at least 3.2 million acres in California so far this year (an area nearly the size of Connecticut). On social media, many on the West Coast have shared images of vibrant orange skies, the eerie result of smoke covering the sun. In some areas of California and Oregon, the air quality has reached unprecedented levels and is currently the worst in the world, prompting many to evacuate to cleaner air.
You may be looking for ways to help those affected by the wildfires, including those who have lost their homes as well as the firefighters working tirelessly to contain the blazes. Consider supporting some of the organizations listed below.
The Red Cross is working to provide shelter, food, and medical help to those who have lost their homes or have been forced to evacuate.
This non-profit organization provides both emotional and financial support to firefighters and the families of firefighters killed in the line of duty. They offer education assistance to the children of fallen firefighters and also maintain a memorial to fallen firefighters in Sacramento.
In addition to supporting firefighters, this non-profit also supplies short-term aid to victims of fires through the program Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE). How it works: frontline firefighters distribute $250 SAVE gift cards to those affected by fires so that they can purchase food, clothing, medicine, and other basic essentials.
Especially if you live near areas affected by the fires but aren't directly impacted, consider donating food or money to local pantries desperately in need of supplies. Many food pantries were already seeing increased demand during the pandemic, and the need is likely to grow during wildfire season. Find food banks in Oregon here.
GoFundMe has set up a relief fund specifically for those affected by the wildfires. On the relief fund page, you can also scroll down to links for fundraisers for specific regions, such as North, South, or Central California.
This organization was originally founded to help provide meals for frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic, but recently the group has shifted to provide meals to firefighters, evacuees, and volunteers in California.
Created by the California Community Foundation, the Wildfire Relief Fund supports both mid- and long-term recovery efforts for those affected by wildfires in California. This organization focuses on the long-term rebuilding of affected communities, which generally takes place long after media attention has turned away from the crisis.