Northern California too soon is reeling from a deadly fire. The Camp Fire in Butte County exploded to become one of the state’s most destructive and deadly fires in history, incinerating the entire town of Paradise and so far killing at least 63 people with hundreds still missing. The conflagration has destroyed an estimated 9,000 homes, leaving thousands homeless as winter approaches and putting urgent pressure on local, state and federal agencies to find replacement housing in a remote area already reeling from a serious housing affordability problem.
The Bay Area Council extends is deepest condolences to all the victims and families affected by this horrific inferno, and the Woolsey blaze in Southern California. We express our profound gratitude to the firefighters, police and other first responders, along with an army of selfless volunteers, who are working courageously and tirelessly to put out the flames and assist residents in recovering. Many Bay Area Council member companies have moved quickly to provide resources and raise millions of dollars for the massive rescue and recovery efforts that are already under way. Much more will be needed in the coming weeks and months.
The Camp and Woolsey fires come just a little over a year after the devastating North Bay fires, which killed dozens, eviscerated whole neighborhoods and communities, and wiped out more than 7,000 homes. While the reasons for these catastrophic blazes are complex, climate change is a major factor in creating weather conditions that contribute to the severity of fire. The Bay Area Council is working along several channels to help address how we adapt to changing weather and make our communities more resilient to the effects of climate change. Our Bay Area Council Economic Institute is working with leaders in the North Bay to leverage data in developing new policies that can help speed the rebuilding of homes and address the growing risk of building in areas where fire danger is highest. As California’s population grows, we must work to concentrate new housing away from rural and remote areas that increasingly will be affected by more and more dangerous fires and other impacts of climate change.
Red Cross: Monetary donations can be made to the American Red Cross by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
California Water Service & Utility Workers Union of America Camp Fire Relief Fund. Cal Water will match the first $25,000 of contributions made to the Camp Fire Relief Fund before November 26, 2018, effectively doubling your individual contribution.
North Valley Community Foundation: Fund goes to support the needs of the evacuation centers who opened their doors to house fire victims who lost their homes or had to evacuate. Donate here.
United Way of Northern California Relief Fund: To donate text BUTTEFIRE to 91999, or visit https://www.norcalunitedway.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=2 and select “Camp Fire Relief”
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund: Supports victims by helping to rebuild homes and providing financial assistance to those who need medical and mental treatment. Donate here.
California Fire Foundation: Provides financial support to surviving families of fallen firefighters and firefighters who are battling at the front lines of the blaze. Donate here.
Airbnb: The home-rental company started a program that asks users to open their homes to those hit hardest by the fire. Hosts in regions marked on the map will offer their homes for free until November 29, 2018. Offer is good for displaced residents and relief workers.
North Valley Animal Disaster Group: Works jointly with public and private agencies and organizations in the area help in the safety and well-being of all domestic animals and farm animals, including wildlife, affected by a disaster. This includes assistance with emergency temporary shelter, evacuation, and medical care. Donate here.
Volunteering: The Red Cross has a volunteer page for those who want to pitch in above and beyond donations.