Here’s What You Need to Know About the California Wildfires (and How You Can Help)

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 Sandy Huffaker/Getty


Three major wildfires have ravaged California since early November, and firefighters have worked around the clock to battle the blazes. Together, these fires have burned over 252,000 acres and killed 80 people, according to Cal Fire and CNN. Here’s what you need to know about the fires, and how you can support the firefighters and those who have lost their homes.

 

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A destroyed car rests in Paradise, California after the Camp Fire passed through. Mason Trinca for The Washington Post / Getty

 

  • The largest fire, the Camp Fire, is located in Butte County in northern California, about a hundred miles north of Sacramento. This fire has burned 151,000 acres and destroyed over 15,500 buildings—including many in the town of Paradise, which was almost totally destroyed by the blaze. 77 people have died in this fire alone, making it the deadliest wildfire the state has seen, and Cal Fire reports that the blaze is 70 percent contained.
  • The other two fires are located outside of Los Angeles, and at 96,949 acres, the Woolsey Fire is the largest of the two. It’s burning in the area around Malibu and has claimed three lives, and Cal Fire estimates that it has destroyed 1500 buildings, including the homes of celebrities like Neil Young and Gerard Butler. It’s currently 96 percent contained.
  • The smallest fire is the Hill Fire, located to the northwest of Woolsey, and it has torched 4,531 acres and destroyed two buildings. Firefighters have now brought it to 100 percent containment, and are working to “mop up and patrol the fire perimeter,” according to a statement from Cal Fire.
  • The causes of the three fires are still under investigation, but they all began on November 8.
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Firefighters outside of Paradise, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

 

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Homes burned by the Camp Fire in northern California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

 

But bringing these fires under control has been no small task. Over 7,800 firefighters are battling the blazes across the state, and low humidity and strong winds have helped stoke the flames and made all three fires especially destructive. According to a statement from Cal Fire, “crews will continue to battle steep terrain, limited access, and extreme fire behavior,” as they work to contain the flames.

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A destroyed mobile home park in Malibu Lake, California. Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty

 

Firefighters and firefighting equipment have been pouring in from around California and across the country, but there are other ways to help battle the blaze as well. If you’re looking to support the firefighters and the victims of the fires, here are some organizations to consider donating to, according to The New York TimesLAist, and NBC:

  • California Community Foundation Wildlife Relief Fund: This organization offers aid to help people who have been affected by wildfires, including grants to help them rebuild their homes.
  • The United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the United Way of Northern California: United Way’s Disaster Relief Fund will help support those who have lost homes in the Hill and Woolsey Fires outside of LA as well as those displaced by the Camp Fire in the northern part of the state.
  • The California Fire Foundation: This nonprofit organization’s SAVE program offers direct and immediate assistance to victims of wildfires, including $100 prepaid credit cards for purchasing emergency supplies.
  • North Valley Community Foundation: This community organization has set up a Camp Fire Relief Fund to support victims of the fire in northern California, and the donated money goes toward a variety of initiatives, including supplying grocery gift cards to people who have lost their homes.
  • Ventura County Community Foundation: The VCCF has created a fund to support medium- to long-term recovery efforts from the Hill and Woolsey Fires near Los Angeles.
  • The Humane Society of Ventura County is looking for donations to support its work taking in pets and livestock displaced by the fires outside of Los Angeles.
  • The Entertainment Industry Foundation is accepting donations that will benefit multiple fire-related organizations and efforts, including purchasing badly needed supplies for firefighters.
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The Camp Fire burns near Oroville, California, Justin Sullivan/Getty