The Kincade Fire: How you can help now

A structure lights on fire because of the Kincade Fire. Oct. 25, 2019 ( Tim Walton )

The images of the fire are heartbreaking: the towering walls of flames, structures burning to the ground, the tens of thousands of evacuated residents chased from the homes, and the exhausted firefighters working around the clock.

Petaluma firefighter take a nap at the Robert Young Estate Winery after fighting the Kincade Fire for 26 hours straight. (Petaluma firefighters union)

As of Tuesday morning, the fire had spread across more than 75,000 acres, and was 15 percent contained, as firefighters prepared for another round of powerful winds expected to hit the area later in the day.
  
If you are looking for a way to help in the relief efforts, here is a list of organizations that are taking donations or accepting volunteers.  

The American Red Cross is accepting donations to its disaster relief fund. The organization said the donations that come in help the Red Cross provide disaster relief immediately. To donate, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 contribution. To make a specific donation to the Kincade Fire, the Red Cross said you can mail in a donation form, along with a check, and send it directly to the California Northwest Chapter at 5297 Aero Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. 

You can also donate to the Salvation Army, which has set up four evacuations centers to help those displaced by the fire. You can donate to the organization's efforts by going to kincaderesponse.org. The group said currently it is only taking monetary contributions, as it's not set up at this time to take in-kind donations. Those interested in volunteering can click here to find all of the current opportunities within the Salvation Army's Northern California Del Oro division.  

The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County (CVNL) said it is in critical need of active license clinical volunteers in Marin County to help those seeking medical services as a result of the Sonoma Fires and the PG&E shutdown. Qualified individuals who want to sign-up can fill out this form here, and an employee with Marin County will contact them with further information, the group said. Officials also emphasized not to self deploy or drop-off supplies.

The group is asking others who are interested in serving as disaster volunteers to register online at cvnl.org/volunteer-marin. You can also donate money to help victims through CVNL. "When people are displaced or lose their homes there is no place to store donated items or goods. Shelters often run out of space and it takes time for the community to coordinate sorting and drop-off locations," the non-profit said. CVNL is accepting gift cards and/or monetary donations in-person for later distribution at any of their office locations. A fund to support disaster services has also been established. Visit cvnl.org/donate and under “additional information” make sure to select “disaster-related work.”

Petaluma Peoples Services Center has been active in the relief efforts. On its Facebook page, the group has been listing urgent items needed and drop-off locations. If you're interested in making a monetary donation serving victims of the Kincade Fire, you can do so by going to petalumapeople.org/donate and noting that you would like to designate your contribution to a specific fund, under the "Donation Information" section.

Community Foundation of Sonoma County has sat up what it calls a "Resilience Fund" for victims of the fire. The group said it is ready to support long-term recovery efforts, through the fund, which was first established in 2017 to support recovery efforts from the North Bay Firestorm. It has since continued to be a source of long-term aid for Sonoma County, making grants of more than $4.5 million to offer help to those affected by the fires, through emotional support and housing. Donations to the fund can be made by clicking here.

Those who want to support short-term (immediate) recovery efforts, the foundation is working with the United Way of the Wine Country which has established the Kincade Fire Emergency Relief & Recovery Fund to help in the relief and recovery efforts post-fire. All gifts made via the United Way website will be directed to the fund until further notice. You can click here to give to the United Way's efforts.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) is currently accepting food donations. The food bank said it has set up totes for donated food at the back of the Redwood Empire Food Bank at 3990 Brickway Blvd. in Santa Rosa. It has also placed barrels at various locations in the community. It's posting updated information on its Facebook page.

The food bank said residents can also make monetary contributions as it expects to meet the needs of more than 200,000 people in the coming days. "Monetary donations allow us to buy and distribute the type of food most needed," the non-profit said. You can donate by clicking here.  

The group said currently its regular volunteer shifts have been canceled due to the fire and fluid nature of the disaster. It is working to restart its volunteer program and is inviting residents interested in helping out to sign-up by emailing their name and phone to volunteers@refb.org.

World Central Kitchen has been serving thousands of meals to people who have had to evacuate. The group has set up at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. On Sunday, Food Network celebrity chef Tyler Florence invited volunteers to come out and help, tweeting, "We would prefer kitchen experience, but if you have a strong back and can handle a knife, we'll take you." If you would like to volunteer in that effort, you can sign up here, or you can support World Central Kitchen by clicking donate.wck.org.

Global Giving has launched a California Wildfire Relief Fund. The fund seeks to support recovery and relief efforts for Californians affected by the 2019 wildfires. The group said, "Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. The fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations in region." You can donate to Global Giving here.

The Latino Community Foundation (LCF) has reactivated its NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund in an effort to provide immediate support to help victims of the Kincade Fire. "LCF is moving quickly to support Latino and immigrant families by investing in Nuestra Comunidad and Corazón Healdsburg," the non-profit said. "Both of these organizations have been receiving buses of people—many of them immigrant families—displaced by the fires. They have a solid history of working with Latino and immigrant communities—and are trusted source of help and resources." You can donate to the LCF's fire relief efforts here.

A coalition of local organizations have established the UndocuFund for Fire Relief in Sonoma County. Founded in 2017, in response to the Tubbs Fire, UndocuFund is now raising money help the victims of the Kincade Fire. The fund is being managed by Graton Day Labor Center, North Bay Organizing Project, and North Bay Jobs with Justice to provide direct funding to undocumented immigrants in Sonoma County and their families to assist them with fire-related expenses. You can donate to UndocuFund by clicking here.

If you are an Airbnb host, the company is assisting in offering fire evacuees free housing. Hosts who want to open their home to those affected by the Kincade Fire can sign-up here.

The state of California is also providing information to residents on how they can help. Go to response.ca.gov for a list of vetted relief organizations, as well as resources for those affected by the fire and power shut-offs.