For many of us, the fires raging in California right now — with the strong smell of smoke in the air — are poignant reminders of experiences we would very much prefer to forget.

But forget we cannot. There are thousands going through the very same experiences that we went through not that long ago and are in need of the very same help.

And who is in a better place to help — from pure experience and compassion — than we, as fire victims.

If you are in a place emotionally and physically to help, here are some recommendations (our complements to the Sacramento Bee and Capitol Public Radio):


To Volunteer

Butte County Emergency Services is using Caring Choices in Chico to coordinate emergency volunteers, which says it has received an outpouring of volunteers. Caring Choices suggests those wanting to help donate money or supplies from the list below.

Organizations accepting donations for Camp Fire relief

The Chico-based nonprofit North Valley Community Foundation is accepting online donations to an Evacuation Relief Fund that will support organizations that are sheltering Camp Fire evacuees.

The Butte County Office of Education has set up a Schools Relief Fund, administered online by the North Valley Community Foundation, to directly benefit Butte County schools. Donors can either specify a district or use for their money (such as textbooks or clothes) or make an open donation.

The county’s Camp Fire Emergency Response Program is accepting donated items at 2850 Feather River Blvd. in Oroville. A list of needed items is available here from the Oroville Hope Center.

The United Way of Northern California has established a NorCal Fire Relief Fund to benefit Camp Fire relief efforts, including “direct cash assistance for survivors, assistance to partner agencies in their provision of direct services to survivors, and United Way operations that directly assist survivors.” Donate online or by texting BUTTEFIRE to 91999. Businesses and organizations interested in helping contribute to the fund can call Jacob Peterson at 530-241-7521 or 916-218-5424. You can also email him at

The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations to support their immediate response efforts. You can give online or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). Donations by mail may be designated “Camp Fire” and send to:

The Salvation Army

PO Box 348000

Sacramento, CA 95834

The Chico-based Enloe Medical Center Foundation has set up a relief fund to help patients, families and caregivers who have lost their homes or been displaced due to the fire. You can donate online or text “CampFireRelief” to 91999.

Tri Counties Bank has set up a fund to help the victims of the Camp Fire. The bank made an initial deposit of $25,000 in the account, and the bank’s GoFundMe page for the fire fund has raised more than $86,000 since it opened on Nov. 9. You can donate to the fund on GoFundMe, or at any Tri Counties Bank location.

GoFundMe created a page with verified campaigns raising money for victims of the Camp Fire and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Southern California. The page includes large campaigns like the Tri Counties Bank campaign, as well as campaigns for individual families who have lost their homes.

The American Red Cross is accepting online donations to help people affected by the California wildfires (select the appropriate option from the dropdown menu). You can also donate by calling 1-800-733-2767 or texting “CAWILDFIRES” to 90999.

The Veterans Resource Center is accepting monetary donations online (designate “Camp Fire” in the comments field) and items that can be dropped off at the center in Chico (10 Amber Grove Drive, Ste 114, Chico). On Monday, they published a list of needed items — see it here.

The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts. You can donate online or mail checks (noting “Wildfire Relief Fund”) to:

California Community Foundation

221 S. Figueroa St., Suite 400

Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Yuba/Sutter Habitat for Humanity is accepting monetary donations (in person or online), gift cards, and donations of unused clothing, blankets, hygiene products, or non-perishable food items. Donations can be dropped off at their ReStore (202 D Street, Marysville, CA 95901) during business hours. More information can be found here.

The New Earth Market in Yuba City has also been collecting gift cards to distribute to evacuees. Information on their efforts can be found on the market’s Facebook page.

The Presbytery of Sacramento has established a Camp Fire Relief Fund to assist the Chico-based Bidwell Presbyterian Church in responding to families affected by the Camp Fire. Individuals and churches interested in donating can send checks to:

Presbytery of Sacramento


9983 Folsom Blvd.

Sacramento, CA 95827

Bidwell Presbyterian is also collaborating with the Salvation Army to distribute donated items and holding “pop-up shops” for evacuees. More information on their efforts can be found on their website and Facebook page.

Sacramento-based nonprofit RedRover has a list of resources for helping animals affected by the California wildfires here.

For Housing

North Valley Property Owners Association in collaboration with other local nonprofit groups has created a resource to assist evacuees in locating long-term housing. Those who can offer long-term housing can be added to the database here.

Airbnb has activated its Open Homes feature for the Camp Fire, where people can make their homes available for free to displaced people and relief workers. Add your home or find shelter here.

For Insurance

United Policy — for insurance advice


United Way of Greater Los Angeles: This local branch of the national organization is raising money for those affected by the Woolsey and Hill Fires, specifically to help low-income residents.

There are multiple crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires. GoFundMe has organized a page that catalogs the relief efforts in Northern and Southern California. It includes links to donate to families who have lost their homes.

Google is collecting donations to help those affected by the wildfires in Southern California. It will funnel the donations to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which will distribute the money to local nonprofits.

Additionally, Airbnb has launched a program that asks people to open their homes to those affected by the fires. Until Nov. 29, the company is allowing residents to mark their homes as a place for evacuees and aid workers to stay for free.

Entertainment Industry Foundation: This nonprofit, started by Hollywood stars, has a fund that helps firefighters and other emergency workers battling California wildfires. One of its beneficiaries is the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots. Another beneficiary provides meals for emergency workers and evacuees staying in shelters.

Humane Society of Ventura County: This nonprofit is accepting donations to help animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires. It is taking in domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and birds, as well as livestock.