Those of us who live out west know what it’s like to live with the threat of wildfire.
We’ve driven through burned forests and seen skeletal tree trunks rising out of the ashes. We’ve stood on our neighbor’s porches and seen the scorch marks that got too close for comfort when a grass fire got out of control. We’ve watched the television in terror and fascination as fire crews rushed to save a beloved landscape, the arc of red retardant falling from a plane in the sky and onto the flames below.
We’ve lived through wildfires before, but the total devastation that wreaked it’s way through Northern California this fall is new. The worst fears of every community that lives close to flammable landscapes came true.
With over 40 deaths, approximately 8,400 homes and businesses destroyed, and over 100,000 people evacuated, the fires that ravaged the North Bay in California broke records as the most deadly and most destructive cluster of fires in the state’s history.
As the nation learned how devastating these fires were, harrowing stories emerged of people throwing their children and pets in the car and driving through the middle of the night along burning roads.
The night of October 8, 2017, combined fierce, dry winds with the perfect cocktail to launch these fires into maelstroms. The Tubbs Fire, which burned over 36,000 acres in Santa Rosa and the areas north of the city, was responsible for at least 22 deaths. It’s the most destructive and third most deadly fire in California’s history.
Almost one month later, thousands of people have returned or are returning to completely devastated neighborhoods and homes. As the world keeps turning and those of us not directly affected by the fires turn back to our regular lives, here’s how we can continue to help the victims of these destructive fires.
Social media has proven to be an invaluable tool for people willing to help out to connect with individuals affected by the fires. Visit these Facebook groups and Google Docs to learn more about the community’s direct needs:
Local newspapers are a great place to stay up to date on community needs.
There are a variety of places to donate, including crowd funding sites for individual families or causes. If you don’t have a specific place to donate in mind, GoFundMe has a list of verified fire relief crowdfunding campaigns to chose from.
Other organizations accepting donations include:
Animals, pets, and livestock are displaced, as well. To learn more about how to help, check out:
Throughout Northern California, communities are transitioning from total devastation to a place of healing, and as the rest of us go about our everyday lives, let's remember those who were effected by the fires throughout Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte, and Solano counties.