NOTE: Please check back frequently for donations and volunteer information.
Last updated 12/13/2017 12:00PM
The Thomas Fire began burning Monday evening December 4th around 6:20 pm in Ventura County and has already burned more than 25,000 acres, threatening lives and thousands of homes. Tens of thousands are without power in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties as high winds fan flames and threaten high power transmission lines. As of Tuesday, December 5th more than 7,700 homes are under mandatory evacuation orders and high winds are expected to continue.
The Creek Fire also began burning around 6:00pm Monday evening and has burned more than 6,500 acres, threatening thousands of homes with mandatory evacuations in effect. The Rye Fire, also burning in Los Angeles County, has consumed 5,000 acres with 5,090 homes and 370 other structures threatened. Evacuations have been ordered for 2,000 residents. Cal OES Fire, Law Enforcement, and Southern Region personnel are currently working with other response agencies to address all emergency management, law enforcement, evacuation and mutual aid needs for both incidents. The Cal OES Southern Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) has also been activated to support emergency management operations.
For updated incident information on these wildfires, please visit:
- Ready Ventura – readyventuracounty.org
- Ventura County Fire PIO Twitter – twitter.com/VCFD_PIO
- Santa Barbara County – countyofsb.org/ceo/oem/
Creek and Rye Fires
- Los Angeles County Fire Department – fire.lacounty.gov
- Los Angeles County – lacounty.gov/emergency
- Los Angeles City – emergency.lacity.org/creek-fire
- Los Angeles County Fire PIO Twitter – twitter.com/LACoFDPIO
- OES Incident Page – December Wildfires
If you would like to donate, cash donations are preferred because they reduce the amount of labor and the expense of sorting, packing, transporting, and distributing donated goods. Relief agencies can use cash to meet survivors’’ specific needs more quickly while also supporting local economic recovery.
It will take some time to identify specific needs, but financial donations to community foundations and nonprofit disaster response organizations are the best way to help individuals and families affected by disasters. As needs are identified, this information will be updated on this website.
The following organizations are accepting financial contributions to assist those affected by the Thomas and Creek fires:
- United Way of Ventura County – vcunitedway.org. Donations can also be made by texting UWVC to 41444 or calling 805-485-6288.
- Ventura County Community Foundation – vccf.org (click orange “donate” button to be taken to the page to contribute.)
- The Salvation Army – salvationarmy-socal.org
- California Community Fund – calfund.org/venturawildfire
San Diego County
All Southern California Fires
- American Red Cross – redcross.org/californiavolunteers-pub
CaliforniaVolunteers strongly encourages donors to carefully research charitable organizations prior to donating to ensure that their donated funds will have the desired result. For additional information and easy-to-use tips on avoiding charity scams following a disaster, please visit the California Office of the Attorney General Charities website.
How You Can Help
A financial contribution to a recognized disaster relief organization is the most effective donation to make. When people support voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure the right goods get to the right people at the right time following a disaster. Although there may be many needs, it is not helpful to collect “everything.” To donate responsibly, here are some tips to consider when collecting and donating in-kind items.
- BEFORE Collecting: Coordinate with an organization working in the affected area to identify WHAT is actually needed, HOW MUCH is needed, and WHEN it is needed.
- BEFORE Collecting: Plan for transportation to move the items from where they are to where they are needed.
- BEFORE Collecting: Identify who will take possession of the items and how they will be used or distributed.
Used clothing is never needed in a disaster area. Donate used clothing locally to an organization that has a year round mission with used clothing. Or sell used clothing at a yard sale and donate the money raised to a responding organization.
It is important to remember unsolicited donated goods (e.g. clothing, miscellaneous household items, and mixed or perishable foodstuffs) require voluntary agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.
Individuals wishing to donate household or other goods are asked to wait until the needs of those affected are made known.
The need for volunteers is currently being assessed and will be updated regularly. At this time, please consider affiliating nonprofit organizations before coming to the disaster area. Immediately following a disaster, a community can become easily overwhelmed by the number of generous people who want to help. Contacting and affiliating with an established organization will help ensure that you are appropriately trained and supported to respond in the most effective way.
Above all, please do not self deploy.