Wildfires Destroy Countless Homes: How Can You Help?

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Flames consume a home in Glen Ellen as out-of-control wildfires move through the area on Oct. 9, 2017. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Since the Red Cross put out a call for volunteers on Monday, more than 2,400 people already have responded to help those affected by the wildfires in Northern California.

Red Cross spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw said that they will be "on-boarding and getting them scheduled in the next few days."

A few thousand people have checked into 11 Red Cross shelters throughout areas affected by the fire, according to Shaw.

It will take some time to identify specific needs, so Shaw says that one of the best ways people can help out is through financial donations.

People can give monetary donations at redcross.org. Napa Valley Community Foundation has also set up a disaster relief fund.


Looking for other ways to help? Those who want to volunteer for relief efforts in Sonoma should contact the Sonoma Community Center, where they are deploying many volunteers to Sonoma Valley High School. Food pantries in Napa County, Yuba County and Sonoma County are receiving items. Animal shelters, such as the Humane Society of Sonoma, Humane Society of Napa, and Yuba-Sutter SPCA, are also accepting donations.

As large wildfires continue to burn across Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties, professional disaster responses are flowing in from the federal, state and local levels.

And for individuals and local people looking to lend a hand, authorities are directing them to the American Red Cross, whose Northern California branch has trained volunteers working at emergency shelters throughout the region.

"As the disaster evolves, we'll be assessing how we can use community volunteers to provide additional support," Shaw said Monday afternoon.

The Red Cross is already finding work for new volunteers, according to a statement put out by Sonoma County officials Monday evening. The aid organization needed people to help survivors as they check into evacuation centers in Santa Rosa.

Would-be volunteers can sign up with the Red Cross via a web portal. The organization also accepts monetary donations via phone and the web, or by texting "REDCROSS" to 90999.

A FEMA spokesperson directed those looking to help to a statewide volunteer coordination website, which is expected to list many more opportunities to aid people affected by the fires in the coming days.

The Petaluma Police Department put out a call for supplies on Facebook earlier today for the half-dozen shelters operating in the southern Sonoma County city. The need for some types of supplies has since diminished.

"The good news is all the shelters pretty much have all the supplies they need," police records assistant Sandra Correia said just after 5 p.m. on Monday.

Calvary Chapel at 1955 South McDowell Blvd. and Casa Grande High School at 333 Casa Grande Road, both in Petaluma, were still calling for cots and bedding, she said.

NBC Bay Area reports that a crowdfunding effort by a winery owner in Napa Valley has been certified by GoFundMe. The site had raised nearly half of its $10,000 goal over the day on Monday. It says funds will be distributed among fire agencies in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties, as well as to other relief efforts for people affected by the fires.

Vintage clothing shop Love on Haight in San Francisco was taking clothing and bedding donations Monday.