The October 2007 California wildfires are a series of wildfires that began burning across Southern California on October 20. At least 1,500 homes were destroyed and over 475,000 acres of land have burned from Santa Barbara County to the U.S.–Mexico border. As of October 24, 18 active fires were burning in the region. Fourteen people have died, and at least 70 others have been injured.California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven California counties where fires were burning. President George W. Bush has declared that an emergency exists in the State of California and has ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts. Over 6,000 firemen are working to fight the blazes; they are aided by units of the United States Armed Forces and United States National Guard.
For those of us not in Southern California that would like to help, here is a list of recommended charities provided by the Los Angeles Times:
Please do what you can. Also, if you are interested in helping the hard-working firefighters in California, please visit the California State Firefighters' Association website.
American Red Cross: Cash donations can be made through www.redcross.org or through a local Red Cross chapter. Volunteers also are needed. Information on shelter locations can be found on Red Cross websites for Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties and the Inland Empire. Donations of clothing can be made at Goodwill locations. Information: (800) REDCROSS or (800) 257-7575 for Spanish speakers.
Salvation Army: Cash contributions can be made through its website www.salvationarmy-socal.org or by calling (800) SALARMY.
Governor's Office of Emergency Services: Businesses wishing to donate large quantities of goods for distribution to fire victims can call (800) 750-2858 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Pacific time. Individuals wanting to donate items or volunteer to help with local disaster response efforts should contact the Red Cross or go to the governor's CaliforniaVolunteers website at www.californiavolunteers.org.
United Health Group: Southern Californians coping with the emotional consequences of the fires can call a counseling hotline at (866) 342-6892. The free service provided by the insurance company will be available around the clock for as long as needed.
The Los Angeles Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Cash donations are needed to support efforts to provide emergency shelter for animals displaced by the fires. Contributions can be made through www.spcala.com or by calling (888) SPCALA1. Food supplies also are needed.
New Leash on Life: The animal rescue group needs help caring for evacuated pets at its Newhall facility. The group can be contacted at (661) 255-0097.
For those in the area, in case you haven't seen it, Google Maps has introduced a new feature providing updates on the fires in San Diego and Los Angeles.