How to help victims of Northern California fires

As firefighters continue to battle one of California's worst fire disasters, many people are wondering how they can help.

More than 15 fires have scorched 220,000 acres, destroyed an estimated 5,700 structures and caused at least 40 deaths in more than half a dozen counties since Oct. 8.

In Napa County, public officials said no one was allowed into evacuation areas Saturday because Caltrans was spending the day trying to restore the roads. Locals have been urged to avoid trying to help the cleanup. The county public health director declared a local emergency to bring in more resources for removing toxic ash and burnt remnants of homes and cars.

Needs change quickly and differ among affected regions. For example, Napa County officials said they prefer money sent to the Napa Valley Community Foundation over in-kind donations. They said they have too much donated food.

Officials have asked the general public to stay off emergency phone lines and out of evacuation areas. Anyone needing to drive in affected regions is asked to stay out of the left lane so that emergency vehicles can easily pass.

Here are some other ways you can help:

Groups/lists

People can stay updated on fluctuating needs by visiting social media pages of affected counties and cities, or through Google lists and Facebook groups.

A Facebook group for the Tubbs fire has up-to-date information on evacuations, lost and found pets, rentals, resource lists, needs and how to help.

A Facebook crisis response page for the Tubbs fire includes updates, fundraisers and needs and offers of help.

An open Google doc has some wine country fire relief donations and help information, including in-kind and volunteer needs.

Another open Google doc has Petaluma volunteer, donation and evacuee information.

Local newspapers have also compiled help lists, including the Ukiah Daily Journal, the Napa Valley Register, the Sonoma County Gazette and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Donate or volunteer

GoFundMe has a list of verified fire relief crowdfunding campaigns. Among them is one to rebuild a burned nonprofit school in Sonoma for children with autism, and another to help a girl who uses prosthetic legs and whose family lost everything in the Santa Rosa fire.

Deborah Lauchner, the chief financial officer for the city of Santa Rosa, organized a fundraiser for local fire victims on the crowdfunding site YouCaring. The city is partnering with United Way to distribute the funds, to be used once insurance and FEMA money is exhausted.

Airbnb has waived service fees to allow hosts to offer their homes near the affected areas to those in need of shelter. People with spare rooms or homes can also add their information to a spreadsheet to become volunteer hosts.

Donations can go to organizations including United Way of the Wine Country, the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, North Coast Opportunities and the Salvation Army Nor Cal Wildfire Fund.

The Graton Day Labor Center and other advocacy groups established a fund to support undocumented families. Donations to the Undocufund for Fire Relief can be made online, at any Exchange Bank or checks can be mailed to P.O. BOX 1100 Sebastopol, CA 95473. The labor center is also asking for direct donations to support undocumented and low-income families who have lost work due to the fire.

Redwood Credit Union is accepting financial donations to help fire victims and aid relief efforts. Donations can go to any of the four most affected counties, or be distributed equally to all.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is providing food to shelters for those displaced by the fire. They're asking for financial donations or ready-to-eat, nonperishable food donations brought to 3990 Brickway Blvd. in Santa Rosa for shelters that don't have kitchens.

The Red Cross is asking for donations and volunteers.

The Salvation Army has deployed trained disaster staff and volunteers to Northern California to provide food, hydration, clean-up kits, hygiene supplies, and emotional and spiritual support to first responders and survivors. Donations can be made by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting www.gosalarmy.org.

The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County is accepting donations and has a list of ongoing volunteer opportunities.

The Graton Day Labor Center and other advocacy groups established a fund to support undocumented families. Donations to the Undocufund for Fire Relief can be made online, at any Exchange Bank or checks can be mailed to P.O. BOX 1100 Sebastopol, CA 95473. The labor center is also asking for direct donations to support undocumented and low-income families who have lost work due to the fire.

The Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau established a housing recovery fund for displaced agriculture workers and their families.The fund has an initial investment of $50,000 and will be used to help farmworkers find new places to live. Contributions can be made at www.scggf.org.

For Animals

Shelters and stores across the Bay Area are accepting monetary donations for pets that are displaced or in need. Facebook groups including Napa/Santa Rosa Animal Evacuations Info and Solano County Horse/Livestock Fire Evacuation Help Page serve as hubs for donation and volunteer information and pet/owner reunification.

The Napa Humane, Sonoma Humane and Marin Humane societies ask for monetary donations. The Napa County Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, at 942 Hartle Ave. in Napa, said volunteers can show up at their facility at 8 a.m. daily to help clean and organize. Checks can be mailed to the same address.

Individuals who can open their homes as a foster are asked to contact Deassa@JamesonRescueRanch.org. Many shelters say in-kind donations of animal supplies are no longer needed.

andrea.castillo@latimes.com

@andreamcastillo


UPDATES:

Oct. 21, 10:30 a.m.: This article was updated with information about additional participating organizations.

Oct. 20, 10:11 a.m.: This article was updated with information about additional organizations seeking donations.

This article was originally published Oct. 14 at 6:25 p.m.

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