COUNTYWIDE : Ojai Organizes Fire Relief Effort

Ojai residents who remember the 1985 fire that destroyed 12 houses are organizing a relief effort for fire victims in Santa Barbara.

Clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, non-perishable foods and pet foods can be dropped off around-the-clock in the lobby of the Ojai Valley Community Hospital, 1306 Maricopa Highway.

The hospital employees’ activities committee has asked The Salvation Army to make pickups late Friday and Monday afternoons. The committee also helped gather items for victims of Northern California’s October earthquake, said Jane McCarthy, director of the hospital’s marketing and development.

Businesses and individuals have already begun making donations.


An Ojai market has donated 10 cases of food and paper items worth $350, and a private veterinarian has offered pet food, said committee coordinator Michele Ball.

“We’ve been there before in ’85,” Ball said. “We’re trying to help them out up there. . . . We know the fear.”

The 1985 Ojai fire burned 119,000 acres and took firefighters two weeks to put out. The Santa Barbara fire has consumed about 300 houses.