Multiple fires have started in the last three days in the hills of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, burning more than 83,400 acres and forcing tens of thousands of Californians to evacuate.
As of Wednesday evening, most of the fires were barely contained, if at all. Nearly 10 miles of Interstate 405 ― one of the most congested freeways in the country on a normal day ― were shut down as the flames descended the surrounding foothills.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a local state of emergency in response to one of the largest blazes, known as the Creek fire, which has burned more than 11,000 acres on the west edge of the Angeles National Forest. One family in Sylmar, north of Los Angeles, arrived at their ranch Wednesday morning to find nearly 30 horses had died in the blaze.
“All I could think about was the horses, the horses, the horses. And they were like, ‘Get out, get out, get out,’ ” Patricia Padilla, one of the ranch’s owners, told the Los Angeles Times. “The structures can get rebuilt, but the lives of the horses can’t. … That’s my biggest heartbreak.”
No human fatalities had been reported as of Wednesday evening. But the Ventura County Fire Department warned of a “severe impact on air quality and visibility” as a result of the blazes. And authorities say the fires may get worse before they get better.
Here’s how you can help those affected by the disaster:
If you want to make a donation:
Dozens of families whose homes have been affected have created GoFundMe campaigns. Visit GoFundMe to see a list of verified campaigns and consider contributing.
The following is a list of charities that are providing aid during the fires. The list was compiled by CaliforniaVolunteers, a government-run office that coordinates volunteer opportunities in the state.
Ventura County Community Foundation ― vccf.org (Click the orange “donate” button to be taken to the page to contribute.)
The Salvation Army ― salvationarmy-socal.org
All Southern California Fires
Remember that charitable organizations often prefer cash donations over donations of goods because they’re faster, more efficient and can be used to purchase whatever is needed. Before you donate, check…