How to protect your home from wildfires
(See the new version of this story that includes resources for fire victims here.)
Amid all of the fire devastation hitting Northern California, some might be searching for ways to help.
While the scope of the destruction will become clearer in the coming days and weeks, there are already needs in the communities. See evacuations, a shelter map and resources here. *The top need now is monetary donations – especially from those outside of the fire area. There is a large backlog of supplies thanks to the community’s generosity, so please contribute to a campaign or group. Many organizations are being inundated with items and volunteer hopefuls. See a list of places to donate funds below. Giving gift cards to families is also helpful.*
Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, has opened as an evacuation center (deaf-friendly) so there are likely to be upcoming volunteer needs there. See more Sacramento area options below.
Here’s a guide for those who want to lend a helping hand in the fire zones and from afar:
Monetary donations needed (high priority)
- Here’s a list of GoFundMe pages dedicated to California fire relief: www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/CAfirerelief
- Donate to United Way of the Wine Country.
- Redwood Credit Union has established a North Bay Relief Fund: https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief
- Fire Relief Fund via Race For Kids Gran Fondo: https://tinyurl.com/RFK-Fire-Evacuees-Supply-Fund. Local grass-roots fundraiser with a team of volunteers who are buying supplies for shelters as new needs arise.
- Donate to Sonoma County Fire Relief, which was put together by a group of pilots from across California to deliver aid to fire victims: https://sonomacountyfirerelief.com/
- Redwood Empire Food Bank, 3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa, (supplier for the evacuation centers) is in near-constant need of cash for food supplies: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=redempire&id=64. Check back at 3 p.m. daily for current volunteer needs by calling 707-573-3399. Also, click here to volunteer.
- Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) has mobilized its Disaster Relief Fund. Make a gift here.
- Latino Community Foundation is raising funds that will specifically go toward three local Latino nonprofit organizations – North Bay Organizing Project in Santa Rosa, La Luz Center in Sonoma and UpValley Family Centers in Calistoga – that are working to support families, farmworker communities, and are coordinating regional resources for immediate and long-term needs. Donate here.
- Donate to the You Caring Tubbs Fire Victims Fund.
- Donate to the Bay Area Firefighters & Families Fund.
- Wine Country Animal Lovers is in need of funds for pet surgeries/burn victims; donate here.
- Hopalong & Second Chance is in need of funds for displaced animals and fostering programs. Donate here.
- Marin Humane Society is in need of funds for animal burn victims to offset the cost of care. Donate here.
- AUTISM School – Anova Education: This school was destroyed in the fire and is a crucial resource for our community. Donate here.
- Petaluma Animal Center needs donations to cover costs of care. Click here and find the “donate button” in the top right corner.
- Union for Reform Judaism’s buildings burned down. Help rebuild the camp by donating here.
- Donate to The Salvation Army’s wildfire relief fund here.
- Jameson Rescue Ranch is out in the community to assess needs. It is seeking donations.
- People have created a public Google Doc on which people are listing available housing; see it here.
- Turo is a p2p car sharing marketplace, and many hosts have opted in to list their vehicles for rent at no cost for people who have lost their cars in the fire or are in need of transportation. If North Bay fire evacuees are in need of a vehicle during this hard time, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- Stay clear of evacuation routes as much as possible if you are not under evacuation orders. Donors should not approach evacuation areas.
- Do not call 911 for general information. Call only for an emergency including unattended, active flames and life-threatening emergencies. Please keep these lines open for emergency responders.
- People are opening up their land for people to stay on through Hipcamp. Check out a list and how to offer your land here.
- Crop Mobster has created a resource listing and map where anyone can post needs or offers of help: https://sfbay.cropmobster.com/bay-area-fire-resources/
- The Red Cross is seeking volunteers to assist fire evacuees. Log in here to get connected and see where help is needed: http://sacb.ee/bdDE. They can also use donations; you can give online, www.redcross.org/donate/donation, call 800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- Give to a California food bank that’s helping victims, but make sure they still need donations. Here’s a list: www.cafoodbanks.org/find-food-bank
- Visit http://volunteer.cvnl.org to register as a disaster service worker.
- Airbnb hosts are opening their homes for free to evacuees through Oct. 30.
- Visit the Tubbs Fire (Lake/Sonoma/Mendo) Facebook group to get involved in community discussion, find lost pets and offer services, along with the Tubbs Fire Safety Check-in Facebook page, which has a support link. You can post services you have to offer. Search for other community groups on Facebook to open the conversation and get up-to-date needs.
- See a full list of shelters that might need aid here.
- ¿Hablas español? Puedes ver una lista de necesidades aquí.
- View a list of current and updating needs here.
- Medical professionals: Contact the Red Cross at 707-577-7600 for volunteer placement and assessment.
- Community members: Just want to volunteer somewhere? Contact the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center Shelter division at 707-573-3399 or visit this website.
- Go to 2-1-1 Sonoma County’s website: http://211sonoma.org/.
- NOTE: Santa Rosa law enforcement agencies are no longer in need for food donations.
- NOTE (lower priority as few donations are needed now): Large donations – and small – can be taken to 5400 Redwood Highway as many places are inundated. Donation hours: 10-4 p.m. over the weekend. Top priorities: over the counter medication for children and adults, new socks, new undergarments, camping stoves, pots, pans, kitchen utensils.
- Petaluma People Services Center: SHARE Sonoma County has created temporary home sharing for those who have lost their housing due to the recent fires. They currently have over 40 home providers offering housing. Anyone needing housing due to the fire or offering housing should contact SHAREFire@petalumapeople.org.
- Elsie Allen High, 599 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa: Sign up to volunteer here.
- The Sonoma Humane Society, 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County Animal Services, 1247 Century Court, Santa Rosa, are offering no-cost veterinary treatment for animal burn victims. The humane society is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; animal services is offering 24/7 service until further notice. It is currently acting as the clearinghouse for Lost and Found pets for Sonoma County with Sonoma County Animal Services. Those who have lost or found an animal should message the humane society on Facebook and be sure to hashtag #LOSTPETSsonomacountyfire2017. Call animal services at 707-565-4406 for donation and general information.
- There is a community foster Facebook network for pets: Community Foster for Tubbs Fire Animals.
- New Life Church, 1370 S. Novato Blvd., Novato, is opening a new an evacuation center. It needs four teams to volunteer for check-in/registration, security, hospitality and donation station. Also, volunteers are needed around the clock starting at 12 p.m. Thursday. Shifts are 4 hours, sign up for back to back shifts if possible. Sign up for volunteering here.
- Marin Center Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael: Needs medical staff. If you wish to volunteer, do not just show up; register at https://cvnl.org/volunteerism/.
Sacramento-area needs/options for donating
- Here’s a list of options from the city of Sacramento.
- Alchemy Salon & Spa says it is accepting donations indefinitely:
- Animal shelters and rescues need help with fostering animals displaced by the fires and are seeking donations. They are also offering resources to pet owners:
– Hopalong & Second Chance Animal Rescue is aiding fire victims’ pets and is in desperate need of animal fosters, particularly kittens. To foster, go to www.hopalong.org/foster/. It also needs supplies immediately; donate at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/hopalonganimalrescue.
– Rocket Dog Rescue in the Bay Area is helping animal victims of the fires. Here are its needs:
Humane Society of Silicon Valley also took in animals in need from Petaluma. Here’s their list of what you can do to help: http://sacb.ee/bnN2.
– The SPCA of Solano County, 2200 Peabody Road, Vacaville, is offering assistance to pet owners. It is seeking drop-off donations of crates, blankets, towels, food, bowls, etc. for fire victims. It is open until 7 p.m. Monday and will be accepting donations Tuesday as well. It also says if you need a place for your animals, call 707-448-7722.
– Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, 2200 Seventh Ave., Santa Cruz, www.scanimalshelter.org, is accepting pets from displaced families and animal shelters affected by the disaster. The shelter needs adopters.
– Check fire-area shelters and rescues to see if they are in need of resources, adopters and fostering.
- If you’ve lost a pet, contact shelters and check out online resources such as lost and found pet groups: www.facebook.com/groups/1632245713675169/.
- Donate to Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano: https://www.foodbankccs.org/
Advice from former fire victims
(1) Contact your insurance companies. Most will cover hotel stays, apart from the usual coverage.
(2) Call your credit card companies and have the last 3-6 months of your purchases reimbursed back (get a police report that testifies you are a fire victim).
(3) If you are renting and are a minor, your parents’ home insurance may cover your belongings.
(4) Call your chain retail stores and see what they can offer to fire victims (GAP gave away free clothes to fire victims up to $500 per person during the Oakland fires).
(5) Needing mail? Wait until the fire is over. Post offices in the Santa Rosa McBride area are being evacuated.