Forest Fires in California Are Out of Control—Here’s What You Can Do To Help

Killer wildfires have been raging across the West Coast, Southwest, and Pacific Northwest for the better part of the last year, but now, the wildfires in Northern California’s wine country have accelerated, leading to the death of 23 people with hundreds more missing, The Washington Post reports.

According to the Post, CNN, ABC, and several other news outlets reporting on this story, a dry, hot wind known as el Diablo has picked up again, and extremely dry, rainless weather has increased the possibility of several of the areas’ biggest wildfire regions merging into one big superblaze. Last Sunday, there were 22 fires ravaging the region, and several have since merged, in many cases knocking out cell phone reception and internet in the region, which makes it even more difficult to locate the 200+ plus people who are still missing.

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Last weekend’s intense winds have felled power lines and trees alike, which has also contributed to the fire’s propagation. Local air quality, meanwhile, has plummeted, and many of the areas highways are backed up with people trying to flee. Thousands of people have already evacuated their homes in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Yuba counties and those that remain are encouraged to leave as soon as possible.

“The historic wind event that swept across PG&E’s service area late Sunday and early Monday packed hurricane-strength winds in excess of 75 mph in some cases,” said Ari Vanrenen, a spokeswoman PG&E utility company, told the Post. The initial cause of the fires has yet to be determined.

Here’s What You Can Do

Local Residents: Sign Up For Text Message Alerts; Host The Displaced

Citizens in the area are urged to sign up for an alert system that sends messages to their cellphones, which can be helpful in warning people in neighboring counties when and if they should evacuate. To sign up to get fire alerts to your cellphone, go here. (Standard text messaging rates apply; by signing up you will recieve breaking fire news, updates on large fires, red flag warnings, and educational postings from Cal Fire’s official Twitter account.) For the latest news and updates, follow @CAL_FIRE on Twitter or Facebook.

According to The Washington Post: “With some of the fires in the Sierras and Southern California nearing containment, Cal Fire is shifting resources — which include 73 helicopters and 30 air tankers — to the most dangerous fires in and around wine country. The U.S. Forest Service said it has dispatched 740 personnel.”

AirBnB hosts are also offering to house first responders and displaced victims through October 30th.

Home Care Assistance is helping seniors in Napa and Sonoma evacuate safely with their belongings. Call 925-817-0416.

Everyone Else: Donate Here

Chelan Valley Fire Relief Fund is collecting donations to help support victims of the spreading fires.

The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers to help assist displaced residents.

American Forest’s American Releaf funds tree-planting projects across the United States, from kickstarting forest regeneration after severe wildfires in the American West to planting trees along waterways in the Northeast damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The American Forest Foundation is addressing critical challenges that must be addressed if we are to continue to have the clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, and wood supply that all Americans count on to live happy, sustainable lives.

As with any environmental disaster that causes displacement, the local The Humane Society is a haven for lost or displaced pets. (Right now, they are also accepting donations to bring much-needed relief to areas damaged by Hurricane Maria.) Click here to donate to the Sonoma Humane Society.


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