This post originally appeared at Environment California by state director Dan Jacobson.
California Fire Resources
Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these devastating wildfires across our state. We pulled together some resources we have found helpful in ensuring that we all stay as safe as possible.
For up to date information about the status of active wildfires, please visit the CalFire website.
State of California Wildfire Resources
The State of California has put together a list of helpful resources for those impacted by wildfires, including how to sign up for emergency alerts by county, emergency lodging, road conditions and more. This is the central hub for all official information: https://www.fire.ca.gov/resources/
List of Northern California Wildfire Resources Compiled by CCF
The California Community Foundation has compiled a list of resources designed to help those affected by wildfires burning in Northern California.
Where to Check your Air Quality
Poor air quality is a big threat to public health. According to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment,
“Particulate matter, or PM2.5, is very small particles in air that are 2.5 micrometers (about 1 ten-thousandth of an inch) or less in diameter. This is less than the thickness of a human hair. Particulate matter, one of six U.S. EPA criteria air pollutants, is a mixture that can include organic chemicals, dust, soot and metals. These particles can come from cars and trucks, factories, wood burning, and other activities.”
Wildfire can be a significant source of air pollution in California and poses major health risks. Short-term smoke exposure may cause scratchy throat, cough, irritated sinuses, headaches, runny nose and stinging eyes. People with asthma, emphysema, congestive heart disease and other existing medical conditions may have more serious reactions, and the elderly and children are to risk.
Be sure to check your local air quality regularly and follow health and safety guidelines.
Aid Organizations to Support
California Fire Foundation: SAVE
The California Fire Foundation provides gift cards to victims of fire so they may be able to purchase basic necessities. They have asked that anyone looking to support make a financial donation. You can donate on their website here.
California Red Cross
The Red Cross is working in California to provide victims of wildfires shelter, food, and other supplies. They ask that you make a financial contribution through their website here. The Red Cross is working to support the nearly 49,000 who have been displaced as a result of fire.
Take Action on Climate Change
For decades, scientists have warned that we can expect more extensive and severe wildfires as the planet warms. We can no longer ignore the clear stamp of climate change as we watch the wildfires of 2020 destroy our incredible state. We have to do everything we can to ensure that we take meaningful steps to tackle climate change here in California and across the country by transitioning away from fossil fuels, embracing clean energy and building a cleaner, greener future for our kids. We want to let our elected leaders know that tackling climate change has to be a top priority.
We are keeping everyone in our thoughts. Please stay safe.