California Wildfires: The Latest and How to Help

[Content Note: Wildfires; death and displacement.]

Dani Anguiano at the Guardian has the latest on the wildfires that continue to devastate California, as more than 8,000 fire crews battle the blazes on multiple fronts: 31 Dead and 150,000 Displaced as Blazes Scorch State.
The Camp Fire has become the most destructive wildfire in California history, incinerating the town of Paradise, in the northern part of the state. It is also among the deadliest, with at least 29 killed, and it has displaced more than 50,000 people.

Two people have also died in the Woolsey fire, a major blaze around Los Angeles, bringing the total to 31. Statewide, 150,000 are displaced as more than 8,000 fire crews battle fires that have scorched 400 sq miles. High winds and dry conditions threaten more areas through the rest of the week, fire officials warned.

Around Paradise, about 1,300 people have found refuge at evacuation shelters, according to a Cal Fire spokesman, Steve Kaufman, a total which includes several shelters in Butte county and some in Sutter, Glenn, and Plumas counties. But that's only a fraction of the total displaced from Paradise, Magalia, Concow, and other towns in the Sierra foothills.

Many converged on Chico, a city of about 90,000 just 20 minutes from Paradise. Hotels in Chico are at capacity with fire evacuees and some, but not all, shelters are full. Others stayed with friends and family or even in their cars, eager to remain close enough to return home at a moment’s notice, even though that could be months away.

A Walmart in Chico has become an unofficial refugee camp for those displaced by the blaze. On Sunday, more than a dozen tents lined an empty field next to the store, while the parking lot was filled day and night with trailers and cars stuffed with belongings — toys, pillows, and family photos.

...At this unofficial evacuation center, tales of generosity by those most affected emerged. Tammy Mezera and her friend Daryl Merritt spent three nights sleeping in a tent outside the store after the fire forced them to run for their lives. When they found out a neighbor, Matthew Flanagan, had slept under a taco truck, they gave him the extra space in their tent.

"It's like an instant family," Mezera said, petting her dog. "We're all taking care of each other."

The three made friends with strangers like Andrew Duran, who sleeps just outside their tent in a sleeping bag. And despite the darkness and loss, they showed endless generosity toward one another. Eating breakfast together on Sunday morning, they shared a few laughs, dancing to Bill Withers' "Lean on Me."

It's the kind of coming together the community will need, Mezera said, after more than 6,400 homes were lost.
I watched people in these communities pulling together on Twitter over the weekend, organizing help for each others' animals, offering refuge, and helping people locate loved ones. Seeing those tweets juxtaposed against the horrifying pictures of the smoke and flames broke my heart and moved me.

And I am indescribably angry that the president is being such a colossal jackass, as always.

If you are looking for ways to help, here are some good collections of suggestions:

Julia Jacobs at the New York Times: How to Help Those Affected by the California Fires.

Michael Rios and Jessica Yarvin at PBS: How to Help the Victims of the California Wildfires.

Alanna Greco at Cosmo: Here's How to Help Victims of the California Wildfires.

Please feel welcome and encouraged to suggest other ways to help in comments. Let's keep this an image-free thread. Thanks.

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