Overview

Early October fires engulfed more than 220,000 acres across eight Northern California counties, with as many as 10 fires raging in the state’s “Wine Country,” including in the cities of Santa Rosa and Anaheim. At least 43 people were killed in the fires, and hundreds more were injured.

Officials recorded more than 200 fires in the month, with 21 of those becoming major events that each scorched 245,000 acres or more.

At their height, the Northern California fires forced thousands to evacuate, knocked out power and gas service to nearly 100,000 customers and destroyed at least 8,400 homes and buildings.

The blazes were part of the most destructive wildfire season on record in California. Overall 9,133 charred more than 1.38 million acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Fires damaged more than 10,000 structures across the state, including destroying nearly 9,500.

Costs to fight the fires, insurance payouts and recovery spending is estimated at $180 billion.

The same scenario played out in Southern California. The Thomas Fire, which started Dec. 4 charred more than nearly 300,000 acres near Santa Barbara. It was fully contained on Jan. 12, 2018. It’s estimated as the seventh-most destructive wildfire in California history, having destroyed more than 1,000 structures. It forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 people, and it cost an estimated $177 million to fight.

Following the wildfires, California has received the following aid:

  • Nearly $300 million from FEMA in public assistance and individual grants
  • $13 million from 43 donors
  • CDP awarded four grants to support the recovery process

Critical needs

  • Recovery needs for each wildfire area vary, but attention should be given to long-term support for rehousing, income recovery, agricultural needs, and additional preparedness support to vulnerable populations.

Contact

If you are a responding NGO or a donor, please send updates on how you are working in this crisis to anna.hurt@disasterphilanthropy.org.

If you are a donor looking for recommendations on how to help in this crisis, please email regine.webster@disasterphilanthropy.org.

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