Southern California Wildfires: How You Can Help the Victims

Pam Wright
Published: December 7, 2017

Hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents have been forced to flee their homes as Santa Ana wind-fueled wildfires tear through the region, destroying hundreds of homes and threatening thousands more.

As residents come to grips with the loss of their homes and possessions and others remain fearful that the same fate awaits them, people are looking for ways to help.

Here are a few ways you can help the victims:

Thomas Fire Relief Fund

The United Way of Ventura County has teamed up with the American Red Cross and the Ventura County Sheriff's set up a relief fund to help the victims of the Thomas fire. You can donate by texting UWVC to 4144 or by visiting their website. 

You can also send checks with "Thomas Fire Fund" in the memo line to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.

One-hundred percent of donations will go to the fund.

James and Josie Ralstin carry belongings from their Ventura, Calif., home as flames from a wildfire consume another residence on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The couple evacuated early Tuesday morning as the fire approached, but returned to retrieve medications and other property.
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)
American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross is accepting donations for the victims of the fires. To donate, you can text REDCROSS to 90999, visit the website or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

The organization is also accepting applications for volunteers on its website

Salvation Army of Ventura County

The Salvation Army says its greatest need for the communities affected by the fire is monetary donations. They are also asking for masks. To donate, visit their website or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY. All donations will go to fire victims. 

Catholic Charities

For families displaced by the fires, Catholic Charities is accepting donations of new toys and clothing to be given as Christmas gifts to families displaced by the fires. Donations can be dropped off at Catholic Charities' Ventura Community Services Center at 303 N. Ventura Ave. Ventura, CA 93001.

Financial donations can be made to the Catholic Charities website.

The Humane Society of Ventura

The organization devoted to the well-being of animals is accepting financial donations through their website. They are also in need of alfalfa hay to feed large animals affected by the fires. 


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Featured Blogs

Meteorology of Saturday's Colombian Flood Disaster That Killed 254

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 3, 2017

At least 254 people were killed in the in the city of Mocoa (population 40,000) in southwest Colombia near the border of Ecuador early Saturday, when torrential rains triggered a debris flow on a nearby mountain that surged into the town as a huge wall of water carrying tons of mud and debris. The disaster is the fourth deadliest weather-related disaster in Colombia’s recorded history.

Iconic American Destination Virtually Isolated for Rest of Year

By Christopher C. Burt
March 24, 2017

Half of the village of Big Sur, on the coast of central California, has lost its only access to the north following the demolition of the flood-damaged Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge along State Route 1 (also Rt. 1 or SR 1) on March 19. Although Rt. 1 to the south of Big Sur has reopened to traffic (after mud and rock slides were cleared) it is a long 70-mile journey along the windy but spectacular highway to Cambria, the next town of any significance where supplies can be had. CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) estimates it will take 6-9 months to rebuild a new bridge over the canyon.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.