Fast-moving wildfires raging across Northern California’s wine country have already killed at least 23 people, left about hundreds missing and destroyed thousands of acres.
More than 91,000 homes and businesses served by Pacific Gas & Electric are without power, with most of those customers in Northern California’s Sonoma and Napa counties, and gas was shut off to 28,000 customers.
Tens of thousands of residents were forced to flee, as schools closed and at least two hospitals in Sonoma County were temporarily shuttered.
At Napa Valley Vintners, at least four wineries suffered “total or very significant losses,” and at least nine reported damage to their winery, outbuildings or surrounding vineyards.
Officials from Napa and Sonoma counties said they are expecting aggressive wind patterns that will present more challenges for the fires.
“The winds gonna pick up this afternoon. There is a lot of concerns where the fire will go. We were doing evacuations all day yesterday and all through the night. If you have a place to go, go. This is still a very serious event. Life safety is what matters right now and that’s where we’re headed,” said Rob Giordano Sonoma County Sheriff.
Citing the ongoing disaster, which is expected to force more evacuations and likely damage, here is how you can help and play your part.
There are several ways you can reach out the victims and help them with your efforts and money. One of them is by volunteering. You can register at Sonoma Community Center or Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership.
Animals are also evacuated in areas where a warning was issued. This resulted in overcrowded animal shelters. You can foster an animal by checking with your local animal rescue facility.
People who are California AirBnB hosts can sign up and offer free housing to victims or firefighters who are working in the region.
You can also donate money to several organizations that are working in the area. These include, Sonoma County Resilience Fund, Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, Savings Bank of Mendocino County and the American Red Cross.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Mike Blake