Thousands of families have had to evacuate areas all over Southern California due to a collection of wildfires that have destroyed more than 200 homes all over Los Angeles and Ventura counties and are continuing to spread.
On Thursday, with dry weather and powerful winds blowing in from nearby Santa Ana, firefighters battled new fires, with one appearing in Malibu, another emerging near San Diego that destroyed 20 buildings, and another in Murrieta. Hundreds of schools have been shuttered and are expected to be closed the rest of the week. Strong winds in the area are not expected to dissipate soon, and conditions may worsen in the next few days.
If you would like to help, here are a few organizations that are accepting donations to care for families and animals in need of supplies and shelter.
Thomas Fire Fund
The Thomas Fire is the largest blaze of the all major fires currently active in Southern California. The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have joined forces to collect monetary donations.
You can offer help by texting UWVC to 41444, visiting the United Way of Ventura County’s website or calling 805-485-6288.
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross of Ventura County has three shelters available in the area and is accepting donations. You can donate to relief by going to the Red Cross website, calling 800-733-2767 or texting REDCROSS to 90999.
The Red Cross of Los Angeles is continually updating their social media accounts with volunteer opportunities, and you can make monetary donations through their website.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is requesting supplies like food and water to help evacuees in Ventura County.
Though the Ventura chapter is currently “overwhelmed” by donations and has run out of room, you can still help with their monetary efforts by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, visiting their website or by arriving in person at 650 S Petit ave Ventura, CA 93004.
Animal Welfare Societies
The Humane Society of Ventura County is accepting donations to help animals at its location at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai, California. They are currently looking for hay, cat food, rabbit food, flashlights, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses and power generators, among many other supplies.
The Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation is accepting donations via P.O. Box 100515, Pasadena, CA 91189-0515 or through their website.
GoFundMe has a dedicated page for verified campaigns that are helping victims of the fires, such as one for the family of firefighter Matt Ekblad and his wife, who lost everything when their home burned down in the Thomas Fire.
Crowdfunding site YouCaring also has a donation page up with many fundraisers created specifically for victims, such as firefighter Tom Lanski of Ventura, who lost his childhood home.