- A series of wildfires are raging throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California.
- The three largest blazes — known as the Thomas Fire, the Creek Fire, and the Rye Fire — are burning around Ventura, Sylmar, and Santa Clarita, scorching thousands of acres and showing no signs of stopping as of Wednesday afternoon.
- More than 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, and many areas are under mandatory evacuation orders.
A series of wildfires are burning out of control in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California.
The first and largest blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, started Monday night in Ventura County. As of Wednesday afternoon, it had grown to more than 65,000 acres and destroyed at least 150 structures out of at least 12,000 threatened.
As many as 200,000 people have been displaced and authorities closed — and then reopened — parts of the 405 Freeway, causing gridlock throughout the region. More than 50 schools were closed on Wednesday in the Los Angeles area.
The flames have crossed the 101 Freeway near Solimar Beach in Ventura County and have now reached the Pacific Ocean. On Wednesday morning, Caltrans announced a full closure of the 405 Freeway between the 101 and 10 freeway, one of the busiest and most congested thoroughfares in Los Angeles.
Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, freeing up state funds to help tackle the wildfires.
“This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we’ll continue to tackle it with all we’ve got,” Brown said. “It’s critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”
Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters that the fires’ growth had been “absolutely exponential.”
Here are a few ways you can help:
Thomas Fire Fund
- The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund.
- Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or go online to United Way of Ventura County’s website.
- Checks with “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.
The Salvation Army
- The Salvation Army is accepting food and water at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
- You can donate cash by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting the website.
The Red Cross
- The Red Cross of Los Angeles will update its social media accounts with information about volunteer opportunities.
- Make a cash donation on redcrossla.org or over the phone by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
The Humane Society of Ventura County
- The Humane Society of Ventura County has taken in over 100 animals.
- Drop off any of the following items at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai: Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses, and power generators.
- Donate food and water for volunteers, or make a cash donation on HSVC’s website.
Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation
- Donate to Noah’s Legacy Fund, which provides supplies, training, and equipment to first responders charged with rescuing animals from areas stricken by natural disasters.
- Mail donations to P.O. Box 100515, Pasadena, CA 91189-0515 or through the LACACF website.
- Dozens of families who’ve already lost their homes have turned to GoFundMe for donations.
- Here is a list of all the verified campaigns.