The devastating wildfires plaguing several counties in Northern California’s wine country are well on their way to becoming some of the deadliest and most destructive in the state’s history.
By Thursday afternoon, the fires had claimed at least 28 lives and many areas were still being evacuated as more than 8,000 firefighters worked for the fourth-straight day to combat massive fires covering more than 160,000 acres.
Here’s a map showing where the fires were located on Thursday.
Many people in California and beyond are seeking ways to support relief and recovery efforts, so we’ve compiled a list of ways to help.
Note: Consider contacting any organization in advance to be sure it isn’t currently overwhelmed by support. After disasters, relief groups often need donations, volunteers and supplies as much in the weeks and months that follow as they do right away.
1. United Way of The Wine Country
The city of Santa Rosa recommends the United Way of the Wine Country for donations. “All gifts made through our website will be directed to area fire relief and recovery efforts until further notice,” its website said on Thursday.
2. Bay Area pro sports teams’ fundraiser
Bay Area professional sports teams - including the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland A’s, the San Jose Earthquakes, the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Raiders, the San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors - have collectively committed $450,000 to support relief efforts, and they are asking fans to join them.
The teams have established a YouCaring crowdfunding page to collect donations for the Red Cross.
3. Redwood Empire Food Bank
Donate, take food to the food bank (3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa) or sign up to volunteer. On Thursday, the food bank’s website said it was in dire need of ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods that it can provide to evacuation centers.
For more information visit its website.
4. Sonoma County Resilience Fund
Community Foundation Sonoma County has launched the Sonoma County Resilience Fund to address mid-term to long-range needs of the community.
Checks can be mailed to Community Foundation Sonoma County, 120 Stony Point Rd., Suite 220, Santa Rosa, CA 95401. Be sure to indicate “Sonoma County Resilience Fund” in the memo line.
5. Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund
The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is making grants to non-profit organizations providing immediate relief and recovery services to those affected. These services may include: food, shelter, childcare, transportation, health and mental health, resource/referral and case management, legal/advocacy services and human and social services.
For more information, visit its website here.
6. Open your home via Airbnb
If you have available housing in the area, consider making it available. Airbnb is facilitating housing for displaced community members and relief workers deployed to help.
7. Donate via GoFundMe
GoFundMe has a page dedicated to the many individual crowd-sourcing campaigns that have been established since the fires broke out on Sunday. They include fundraisers for families and businesses.
8. Four-county fundraiser
State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, Redwood Credit Union and The Press Democrat newspaper have also joined together to establish a fund for victims. With this fundraiser, you can specify which of four counties - Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino or Lake - you would like to support, or mark that you want to support all four.
Checks can be made payable to RCU Community Fund, but be sure to mark “2017 North Bay Fire Relief” in the memo line along with a note about which county or counties you want to support.
Mail to: P.O. Box 6104, Santa Rosa, CA 95406