2019 California Wildfires: Fast Facts

Dangerous wildfires in California have displaced thousands of people and left nearly 2.7 million without power. Learn more about the wildfires and how you can help survivors in their path.


1. Wildfires have forced thousands of people in California to flee their homes.

Nearly 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuate due to two, hard-to-contain wildfires in California, which grew more intense over the last few days. Kincade Fire, which started in Sonoma County on October 23, 2019, intensified because of heavy winds. At the time of this publication, the fire was spreading southwest toward Santa Rosa, causing the biggest evacuation in Sonoma County history. The Getty Fire erupted near the Getty Center in Los Angeles early on October 28, 2019 and has forced tens of thousands of Californians to evacuate. There have been several reported deaths due to the California wildfires, and firefighters have been reported injured.
Source: The Washington Post + The Associated Press

2. The largest blaze, Kincade, is difficult to extinguish.

The Kincade fire, which began in Sonoma County, is the largest and most destructive. It has already destroyed more than 206 structures and is threatening to destroy more than 90,000 others. Thousands of firefighters are battling the blaze—which has burned more than 76,000 acres—and it is now 45% contained.
Source: CBS News + SF Gate

3. Damage from the fast-moving wildfires is extensive.

At least 40 homes in Northern California have already been destroyed. Firefighters are overwhelmed, according to Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas. They “had to make some tough decisions on which houses they were able to protect,” he said. California’s largest utility company, Pacific Gas & Electric, shut off service in portions of Northern California over the weekend to reduce the risk of electrical fires, leaving approximately 2.5 million people without power. In southern California, the Getty Fire has already scorched more than 500 acres and destroyed at least five homes. Officials expect reported numbers to increase dramatically in the upcoming days.
Source: The Associated Press

4. The California wildfires are hitting vulnerable communities especially hard.

In low-income communities located in the fire’s path, families are grappling with food shortages and lost wages. Many immigrants and farmworkers forced from their homes are afraid to access emergency services for fear of deportation, and people with disabilities and medical conditions are particularly at risk as a result of power outages. Often, they need access to electricity to power their medical devices, arrange access to transportation, and order medical supplies.
Source: Disaster Recovery Team at GlobalGiving

5. GlobalGiving partners are gearing up to help survivors access food, shelter, and other emergency services.

The Disaster Recovery Team at GlobalGiving is working with responding partners to meet the immediate needs of California wildfire survivors and first responders. Once urgent needs are met, the GlobalGiving California Wildfire Relief Fund will transition to support community-led, long-term recovery efforts.
Source: GlobalGiving California Wildfire Relief Fund

6. Cash is the best way to help people affected by the California wildfires.

Survivors’ needs vary greatly from disaster to disaster and even day-to-day. You can learn more about how to help people affected by the California wildfires in this infographic about the importance of cash donations to community-led, vetted organizations in the aftermath of wildfires.
Source: GlobalGiving + USAID Center for International Disaster Information

Support wildfire survivors with a donation to GlobalGiving’s California Wildfire Relief Fund.


Featured Photo: A firefighter gives orders as he battles the wind-driven Kincade Fire in Windsor, California, US October 27, 2019 by REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Note: This article was originally published on Oct. 28, 2019 and was last updated on Oct. 31.

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