MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Three major wildfires are burning at both ends of California Tuesday evening, as the death toll has risen to at least 44.
The so-called Camp Fire is the deadliest wildfire California has ever experienced. It has destroyed nearly 7,000 homes and businesses near Sacramento so far. In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire is now 30-percent contained, but firefighters say the threat is far from over.
More than 300,000 have been forced from their homes. Six firefighters have been injured, and there are 139 reports of “suspicious incidents,” including 16 considered looting.
Minnesotans are known are known for being generous, and many have asked how they can be of help for Californians. WCCO’s Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield shared some ways to help, and how not to help.
Plain and simple, the most efficient way to be of assistance is to give cash to an organization like the Red Cross. You can call 1-800-435-7669 or head to their website.
The first impulse by many is to go to the closet, or the garage, load up supplies to send them out west. Many have done that already, in fact. But there is a high cost to shipping and sorting and cleaning those donations.
Much more usefully, you can text a $10 donation right now by texting REDCROSS to 90999. The local Red Cross has six volunteers on the ground in Southern California and say cash is key.
“By giving a donation of $10, $100 or more, it’s buying those blankets, it’s buying the food and supplies and the clean-up kits we are supplying to people. It also trains and supports those volunteers who are giving those hugs, that are providing that comfort, our mental health professionals who are there working with families that have lost everything,” Carrie Carlson-Guest, of the American Red Cross’s Minnesota region, said.
Another way to help that does not cost a thing is by giving blood. The Red Cross has had to cancel blood drives in the area. And there was already a shortage in the first place, so taking an hour to give blood is a very tangible way to help the people of southern California.
There have been reports of many displaced animals. The Butte Humane Society has been making some major rescues over the past week. They are taking donations, and so is the Ventura Humane Society. There are also some horse and livestock rescues.
Donate To Firefighters
And some of you we know, want to direct your money to victims and to the heroes. If you’d like to help the firefighters on the front line of this disaster, Go Fund Me has set up a page where you can donate directly to a department of your choice. They’ve also got a page where you can donate to a school directly; some of them have burned completely to the ground.