As wildfires sweep the West, here’s how you can help

U.S.

Embers fly across a roadway as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, Calif. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

CHICAGO (Nexstar) — Wildfires are wreaking havoc from California to Washington state, displacing tens of thousands of people amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As many as 35 people have died, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency.

Various organizations are offering recovery assistance as well as donation and volunteer opportunities.

The California Community Foundation has compiled a list of resources for people who want to help and those affected. It also lists organizations that are providing immediate and long-term assistance.

“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 foundation said.

United Way of Northern California has provided emergency cash grants to people left homeless by wildfires and worked with its nonprofit partners “in their provision of direct services to survivors.”

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is targeting long-term needs such as rehousing and income recovery, made especially challenging as the pandemic continues.

“Immediate needs must be met, lives must be saved and vital functions restored,” the CDPO said. “But if disaster funding begins and ends there, we have missed the opportunity to support strategic long-term recovery and rebuilding.”

The Red Cross is accepting donations as well as seeking volunteers to help amid the deadly wildfires.

“Our need for volunteers is constant,” the Red Cross said on its website, where volunteers can apply. “Volunteer opportunities include supporting blood donations and delivering much-needed services to your community. We even have a wide variety of remote (work-from-home) opportunities available.”

The California Fire Foundation is providing “critical support to surviving families of fallen firefighters, firefighters, and the communities they serve.”

The California Fire Foundation’s “Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency” (SAVE) program accepts donations and provides $250 gift cards to eligible victims.

© 1998 - 2020 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.