Local public safety officials understand Colusa County residents’ desire to help the victims and evacuees of the wildfires burning across the north state, but they are urging local folks to do so through the appropriate channels.
“From what I understood today, we received reports that there were some locals who were willing to start their own evacuation shelters and were seeking donations,” Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Jim Saso said on Monday. “While the intentions are positive – they are good intentions – there’s a lot more to this than just setting up a place for people to congregate, for lack of a better term.”
As of Cal Fire’s last incident report at 7 PM on Monday night, the Carr Fire had burned more than 100,000 acres, was 23 percent contained, and had destroyed 1,132 structures, including 818 residences. While evacuation orders have been lifted in some areas, 4,046 structures remained threatened. The Mendocino Complex – consisting of the River and Ranch Fires which are burning in Lake and Mendocino counties – had burned 68,487 acres and was just five percent contained as of 7 PM on Monday. The fires had destroyed seven residences and three outbuildings, and threatened 10,200 more structures.
Official evacuation centers in Shasta, Mendocino, and Lake counties have been set up for people and animals who have been forced to evacuate by the Carr Fire and the Mendocino Complex fires, in predetermined locations “that can facilitate large scale operations,” Saso said. He added that Colusa County has not received a mutual aid request to provide an evacuation shelter.
“Those who are responsible for the disaster emergency operations, they would request us to set up an evacuation shelter. We have not been requested to provide any sort of an emergency shelter,” Saso said. “The American Red Cross is not actively engaged in any operations in Colusa County, and we have not yet been asked to provide any mutual aid services through Cal OES (the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services), other than strike teams. Everyone wants to help – and I want to help myself – but you can’t just self-deploy. I don’t think people realize the logistics that go into planning something like that for a large-scale disaster.”
While local efforts to set up private evacuation centers or provide food services to evacuees may be well intentioned, the sheriff’s office said that official evacuation shelters have the resources and procedures in place to meet evacuees’ needs while keeping them safe and healthy. It is also easier for families to reunite if those evacuated are registered at an official shelter.
The best way Colusa County residents can help is to make donations to official evacuation centers through known entities, such as the American Red Cross – whether in the form of items or money.
“I would advise those people that if they are willing to donate, do so with a reputable, professional organization,” Saso said.
Jessica Skropanic of the Redding Record Searchlight reported on a number of North State organizations that need donations and volunteers to help with disaster relief efforts associated with the Carr Fire. These organizations have been verified, per the Record Searchlight. The National Center for Disaster Fraud warns donors to vet organizations before they give and beware of anyone going door-to-door for donations. If you suspect fraud, call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, send a fax to 225-334-4707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Per Skropanic’s report:
Haven Humane is housing small animals displaced by the Carr Fire at its facility at 1816 Highway 273 in Anderson. Call 241-1653 or go to http://www.havenhumane.org/.
Samaritan’s Purse needs volunteers to help homeowners who lost their homes with clean-up and salvage efforts. Volunteers need to be in moderate to good physical health. Call 828-262-1980 or go to https://spvolunteer.org/.
Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church needs volunteers to help evacuees at the church at 738 Walnut St. in Red Bluff. Volunteers are needed to help clean, cook, sort donations and man the front desk. Call 527-2449.
The Salvation Army’s donation centers are the official drop-off points for Red Cross evacuation centers. Drop-off locations include 1557 Pine St. in Redding, 4460 Westside Road in Redding and 2016 North St. in Anderson. Items needed include new pillows, new blankets, shoes, sunscreen, paper products, towels, bottled water, diapers, baby food, new children’s clothing, new adult-size shirts, socks and underwear, baby wipes and cleaning supplies. Please note the Salvation Army is asking people not to take donations to evacuation centers.
Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church needs items to help evacuees. Most needed items include food — fresh and non-perishable, paper products and gift cards. Bring donations to the church at 738 Walnut St. in Red Bluff. Call 527-2449 for specific needs and other donations.
BloodSource Shasta needs blood donations at its location at 2680 Larkspur Lane in Redding. Most needed is type O-negative blood. Platelets are needed to help burn victims. Call 866-822-5663 to make an appointment to donate.
Monetary donations to relief organizations:
The American Red Cross accepts donations at 1-800-733-2767 or go to http://www.redcross.org/.
Haven Humane Society accepts donations at its facility at 1816 Highway 273 in Anderson. Call 241-1653 or go to http://www.havenhumane.org/.
The Salvation Army is asking people not to take donations to evacuation centers. Donation centers are located at 1557 Pine St. and 4460 Westside Road in Redding, and 2016 North
St. in Anderson. Call 222-2207 or go to https://redding.salvationarmy.org/.
Shasta Regional Foundation Community Disaster Relief Fund accepts donations at https://bit.ly/2K9bRGU or call 244-1219.
United Way of Shasta County Relief Fund accepts donations at 241-7521 or go to https://www.norcalunitedway.org/.
Businesses with special funds:
FoodMaxx grocery stores started collecting monetary donations for the Salvation Army. Stores include those at 2051 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Chico, 1160 Oroville Dam Blvd. in Oroville, 94 Belle Mill Landing in Red Bluff and 1330 Churn Creek Road in Redding. FoodMaxx will match donations up to $2,500.
Tri Counties Bank accepts monetary donations to its Carr Fire Fund 2018 at any of its bank branches, or go to https://www.gofundme.com/tcb-2018-carr-fire-fund.
Mendocino Complex fires:
For the Mendocino Complex fires, financial donations can be made to the American Red Cross by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations can also be made to the United Way. n