Here’s How to Help the California Fire Evacuees and Victims

See how to make a charitable donation or another contribution.

After last week’s mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, the nation’s attention is drawn back to the state because of a different tragedy.

Three major wildfires have engulfed California, including an entire town. As of Tuesday morning, the Camp, Woolsey and Hill fires have claimed 44 lives and 13,484 structures including more than 6,500 homes. The Woolsey Fire alone had charred 117,000 acres by Monday night. Mother nature seems to be working against firefighters, and officials expect the flames will continue to burn for weeks due to strong winds and dry conditions.

Volunteers and donors with the best of intentions have unwittingly complicated relief efforts. The Los Angeles Fire Department took to social media on Sunday evening to snuff out rumors that firefighters were in need of non-perishable pantry items and emergency gear.

In a Facebook post, the LAFD said the overwhelming volume of donations has outpaced their ability to safely store all the items while allowing firefighters to still do their jobs. Among the donations that have poured in are 5,000 lbs. of bottled water and 200 cubic feet of perishables that are at risk of spoiling because of lack of refrigeration space. All that the LAFD asks in return for its efforts is simply a “wave or a smile.”

If you still want to do what you can in this time of need, there are ways your dollars can be used to aid in relief efforts. Here’s how you can help the people and animals affected by the California fires:

Donate Money

  • The LAFD recommends making an online donation to the local chapter of the American Red Cross or other reputable nonprofit charity dedicated to disaster relief.
  • The California Community Foundation Wildlife Relief Fund supports wildfire preparedness and recovery from California wildfires. The minimum donation to give online is $15.
  • The California Fire Foundation provides victim assistance and short-term financial assistance in the form of $100 gift cards to people impacted by California’s fires and natural disasters. You can donate to the program by contributing online.
  • People who want to express their gratitude for the brave first responders of the LAFD can support them with an online donation. Firefighters are in need of hydration backpacks and donated funds will be used to purchase this essential equipment.

Donate Goods

  • Baby2Baby is a nonprofit dedicated to providing children with diapers, clothing and basic needs. The organization set up a Target.com gift registry for people to buy necessities like strollers, diapers and clothing for children affected by the fires.

Host Evacuees

  • West Coast residents outside of the danger zone can list their homes for evacuees with Airbnb’s OpenHomes. Hosts elect how many guests they can accommodate and Airbnb pledges to reimburse for up to $1 million in property damages caused by guests.

Help Animals

  • The Humane Society of Ventura County is in need of funds to support the evacuated animals as a result of the Hill and Woolsey fires. The organization’s website is accepting online donations, and items like folding chairs and snake tongs are available for purchase through its Amazon wish list.

More on Money

We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.