Starting on November 8th, 2018 in the Sierra Nevada foothills and lasting for 18 days, Northern California witnessed one of its deadliest fires to date, taking nearly 85 lives and leaving 249 lives unaccounted for . Over 19,000 buildings—14,000 of which are homes—have been destroyed, leaving thousands of people misplaced and attempting to get their lives back together, but a time in which people would be able to return to their communities has yet to be determined. Additionally, the air quality index within the area has been deemed at 200+, currently making it the worst are quality throughout the entire world . Though so much devastation has occurred and officials have been endlessly working, the fire has currently been 100% contained and the continuing damaged has been ceased.
However, though the fires have stopped, the lives affected have not.
Though the initial fire had begun on a camping ground, it has spread into communities and neighborhoods, displacing thousands of lives; it has left people without anything besides the clothes on their backs—some were fortunate enough to be able to take a few things with them before being immediately evacuated. Technically, the residents of northern California are now safe, but…they still have a very long journey ahead of them. Where will I live? My office burned down…how will I support my family? All of belongings were destroyed, how do we even begin to start from scratch? These are just some of the questions I imagine these people have been asking themselves since being evacuated from their homes. They have watched their lives be completely changed over the course of just over 2 weeks, with going from relaxing in their living rooms and clocking in at work, to now overflowing in shelters and hotels, trying to maintain themselves and their families. Over the course of those 18 days, people have lost their homes, loved ones, possessions and—overall—their livelihood.
With so much pain, there is still a light that can be shined on California.
They have lost a lot—some people have even lost everything. However, one thing that these people still have is hope. With some much devastation happening around them, it is not surprising that people are struggling to maintain a positive attitude. Yes, it will take some time for their lives to be completely back in order, but, the thing that has been maintaining these people and allowing them to push forward are them never giving up. What makes it even better is that victims of the fire aren’t doing it alone. With an overflow of support throughout the entire country, people have been donating money, resources and time in order to benefit those who have lost so much in these fires. Let us join the rest of the country, trying our best to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the wildfires:
- Donate to the American Red Cross Relief Effort here.
- Sign up as a volunteer at your local Red Cross.
- Find a shelter and seek to provide assistance as needed.
- Adopt a family on Facebook here.
- Donate to the Salvation Army here.
- Donate to the Northern California Chapter of the United Way here.
- Donate to the Global Giving’s California Wildfire Relief Fund here.
- Simply reach out to a person or family that has been devasted and offer a listening ear and open arms.
Sometimes, it’s not just about providing funds to people; some of these are seeking mental and emotional relief, just wanting to talk about their pain and hear someone tell them that everything is going to be okay. As California recovers, let us aid them in the process of it too.