Devastating wildfires are tearing through Southern California, destroying homes and forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.
In Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, the Thomas Fire has destroyed more than 900 homes, businesses and other structures, including Vista del Mar Hospital, which was fully evacuated before it burned to the ground. As of December 15, the fire is the third-largest in California history, with 270,000 acres ablaze and nearly 100,000 residents evacuated. The cities of Ventura, Santa Paula, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, Ojai, Summerland and Fillmore are under major threat.
In Los Angeles County, a trio of fires caused havoc from Bel Air to Santa Clarita and forced more than 150,000 from their homes. The Rye Fire burned more than 6,000 acres and forced families to evacuate in Santa Clarita, while the Skirball Fire destroyed homes and charred nearly 500 acres in and around Bel Air. The Creek Fire charred 15,000 acres near Sylmar, razing dozens of houses and closing parts of the 210 Freeway.
In San Diego County, the Lilac Fire has scorched 4,100 acres and destroyed more than 150 structures.
The immediate needs of those affected by the wildfires are great, and the recovery process will be long and difficult in communities throughout the state.
The list below contains links to information and local resources for those affected as well as to organizations providing immediate and long-term relief. It will be updated as more information and resources are available.
-Direct Relief is providing medicine, supplies and safety equipment to communities throughout Southern California affected by wildfires
-The CCF Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
-The County of Santa Barbara provides updates and evacuation information, road and school closures and shelter locations through their Thomas Fire information page.
-Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster of Santa Barbara County brings together nonprofit, public and for-profit organizations to foster more effective services to help individuals and families affected by disasters.
-Aware & Prepare allows Santa Barbara County residents to register for location-specific text message notification of evacuation and other emergency alerts.
-Foodbank of Santa Barbara County provides free food to organizations serving fire victims, as well as to residential and other facilities that have evacuated.
-Easylift provides free transportation to anyone, especially those using wheelchairs. Easylift is offering free transportation to shelter locations for evacuees.
-The Santa Barbara Foundation’s Community Disaster Relief Fund supports key local organizations in emergency response operations and recovery efforts.
-Ready Ventura County offers up-to-the-minute information on evacuations, available shelters and school and road closures.
-The Red Cross of Ventura County provides shelter locations, evacuation updates and safety information to those in affected areas. Those wishing to volunteer should visit their Volunteer Connection page.
-The Humane Society of Ventura County is seeking donations after taking in more than 300 animals left homeless by the fire.
-The Thomas Fire Fund, launched by the United Way of Ventura County, will use 100% of all contributions to support those in the community who have been affected by the fire.
-The Ventura County Community Disaster Relief Fund, created by the Ventura County Community Foundation, supports organizations providing shelter and long-term housing, legal services,
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
-Cal Fire offers current information on major fires across the state, including evacuations, road closures, containment and maps of maps of affected areas.
-The Red Cross of Los Angeles County provides provides shelter locations, evacuation updates and safety information to those threatened by the fires.
-The Los Angeles Emergency Management Department provides shelter locations, school closures, emergency information and updates for those affected by the fires.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
-Community Recovery Team provides a central location for San Diego residents affected by the wildfires to apply for services and assistance.
-San Diego Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster brings together nonprofit, public and for-profit organizations to foster more effective services to help individuals and families affected by disasters.
-The San Diego Foundation’s Regional Disaster Fund will help victims of the Lilac Fire and provide support to nonprofits involved in recovery and rebuilding efforts for affected communities.