How to help those affected by the California wildfires

Thursday, 12 October 2017, 02:09:23 PM. With thousands of acres burned, here's how you can help.

Wildfires have swept through California, killing at least 15 people and injuring over 100.

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With thousands of acres burned and the fires still raging, here's how you can help those affected by the blazes.

Facebook has created exclusive Crisis Response Centers for three of the fires -- the Sulphur Fire, the Tubbs Fire and the Atlas Fire.

If you want to volunteer to help, you can let the community of the Crisis Response Center know that you're looking to participate in volunteer efforts.

The Crisis Response Centers also allow people to start a fundraiser or donate to ongoing fundraisers. They also serve as a resource to view information about the wildfires, including local news reports and updates, as well as photos that other Facebook users in the area are posting of the devastation.

The online centers also allow you to check in, letting your Facebook friends know you're safe if you're living in the affected areas, or allow you to make sure that your friends in those areas are safe.

how-to-help-those-affected-by-the-california-wildfires photo 1Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via APJim Stites watches part of his neighborhood burn in Fountaingrove, Calif. on Oct. 9, 2017. More than a dozen wildfires have destroyed at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sent thousands of people fleeing.

You can also help by making donations.

The Center for International Disaster Information, which is part of USAID and focuses on informing people about the most effective ways to support international disaster relief and recovery, recommends monetary contributions because they let relief organizations urgently purchase the supplies they need.

"Cash donations allow relief supplies to be purchased near the disaster site, avoiding delays, and steep transportation and logistical costs that can encumber material donations," CIDI's website notes.

Additionally, the organization recommends making sure that the money donated is going to vetted relief agencies.

To ensure that you're contributing to established agencies, you can visit an organization like Charity Navigator or GiveWell, which monitor charities, making it easier to determine where to send your money securely.

The American Red Cross is among established relief organizations that are highly rated by Charity Navigator. The Red Cross is working to provide shelter, food and comfort to those that had to flee their neighborhoods in the affected wildfire areas.

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