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2024 North American Wildfires

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The North American wildfire season typically runs from spring to fall (although it varies by region).

However, as the effects of climate change increase, disasters continue to shirk the expected seasonal rules, occurring with ever-increasing frequency and intensity.

More specifically, climate change is having a significant impact on wildfires around the world and across the U.S.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “Climate change, including increased heat, extended drought, and a thirsty atmosphere, has been a key driver in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the western United States during the last two decades. Wildfires require the alignment of a number of factors, including temperature, humidity, and the lack of moisture in fuels, such as trees, shrubs, grasses, and forest debris. All these factors have strong direct or indirect ties to climate variability and climate change.”

Since 2022, due to the changing landscape and timeline of fire season in North America, CDP’s North American wildfire profile runs by calendar year and typically covers wildfires in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Wildfires in other countries in North America will be included depending on size and severity.

(Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash)

The following summarizes the North American Seasonal Fire Assessment and Outlook, a collaborative effort between the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center, Natural Resources Canada and Servicio Meteorológico Nacional in Mexico. The document provides a general discussion and assessment of factors that affect the occurrence of wildfires in North America. The report is updated monthly with an assessment of recent fires and climate conditions and projections of future wildfire risks.

Some of the critical factors that influence fire potential through May 2024 include El Niño and drought conditions.

Left: Canadian Drought Monitor from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Middle: United States Drought Monitor. Right: Mexican Drought Monitor from CONAGUA-Servicio Meteorológico Nacional.
Source: NIFC

Additionally, a group of researchers and experts studied 23,557 fires and found that drought conditions promote overnight burning, a key mechanism that fosters large active fires. The 2024 study results were published in Nature.

Overnight fires have emerged in North America, challenging the traditional understanding of the ‘active day, quiet night’ model of current fire management practices, which say cooler temperatures and higher humidity at night help slow the growth of wildfires. This new phenomenon has challenged people affected by wildfires, including complicating response and relief.

The study concluded that there is no difference between overnight burn events and daytime burning in extreme cases. Daytime drought conditions could, however, act as a “predictor of overnight burning events.”

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About our coverage

Though we would like to, we cannot share information on every fire across the continent. Below, you will find some general information about the outlook and most significant fires of 2024 in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Other countries in North America are included as relevant to funders. We typically focus our coverage on fires that significantly impact the surrounding areas and environment and affect residents, especially at-risk populations.

United States

The National Preparedness Level – set by the National Interagency Coordination Center and the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group – is currently at Level 4, which means: “National resources are heavily committed. National mobilization trends affect all geographic areas and regularly occur over larger distances. National priorities govern resources of all types. Heavy demand on inactive/low activity geographic areas for available resources.”.

The National Interagency Fire Center statistics show that as of July 14, 24,320 fires this year have burned over 3.02 million acres. The year-to-date annual acres burned is above the 10-year average, at 133% of normal.

In the U.S., the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center’s monthly report, details weather, drought conditions, past incidents and potential risk.

In June, Alaska and the western mainland saw increased fire activity, especially in the final third of the month. Precipitation was below normal across the contiguous U.S., with notable exceptions in Western Washington, the Four Corners and the Upper Midwest, which experienced historic flooding.

The outlook shows above-normal significant wildfire potential across every region of the country. June brought little drought improvement in existing drought-impacted areas.


A record heat wave in Arizona, California and Nevada has dried out the land and increased the risk for fire activity. As of July 14, 10 large fires have burned almost 53,000 acres in Arizona.

The largest is the Freeman Fire, which has burned slightly more than 32,500 acres. On July 14, containment grew from 5% in the morning to 65% in the evening. It was reported on July 11 and grew rapidly that night, but the rate of growth slowed over the weekend. It is Arizona’s largest fire this year. Both Freeman and the Watch Fire are about 100 miles from Phoenix.

The Watch Fire is burning in the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. On July 11, it spread quickly through the tribal community’s land, destroying 12-13 homes, which displaced 60-100 people. Arson is suspected. Local media report that it is the most devastating structural fire to hit the reservation in at least 30 years.

The Black Fire is the second-biggest fire in the state right now. Burning in Tonto National Forest, the lightning-caused fire started on July 12 and has reached an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 acres with 0% containment.


Editor’s note: In California, we usually focus on fires that exceed 50,000 acres.

There has been one civilian fatality and 148 structures have been damaged (50) or destroyed (98) as of July 14, 2024.

Three new fires started on July 13:

  • The Hurricane Fire in San Luis Obispo County has burned 12,678 acres with just 20% containment.
  • The Rancho Fire in Kern County has burned just under 10,000 acres and is 40% contained.
  • The White Fire is also in Kern County. It has 10% containment and has burned just over 5,000 acres.

All three fires have mandatory evacuation orders in place. The cause for each is under investigation.

The Lake Fire is the biggest fire currently burning in the state at 38,430 acres. It is burning near Santa Barbara and started on July 5. It has 34% containment.

In Siskiyou County, the Shelly Fire is only 3% contained and has burned 14,965 acres since it started on July 3. More than 4,200 structures are threatened.

You can support CDP’s response to wildfires in the state by donating to our California Wildfires Recovery Fund.

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Hawaii (Hawai'i)

Crater Road Fire: Maui Emergency Management Agency activated on the evening of July 10 in response to a fire in Upper Kula on the island of Maui. As of July 11, the fire is estimated to span 500 acres and has caused multiple road closures as well as the closure of Haleakala National Park. Residents of the area are encouraged to be prepared for evacuation orders, but at this time no evacuations have been mandated. No homes or structures have been damaged. Emergency personnel escorted stranded motorists down the mountain in the early morning hours of July 11. The fire is estimated to be 10% contained. 

Maui is still recovering from devastating wildfires that burned in Lahaina and Kula beginning the week of Aug. 6, 2023. The Lahaina fire was the worst natural hazard disaster in Hawaii’s history and the fifth-deadliest wildfire in U.S. recorded history.

For more information about the 2023 Lahaina wildfires, please see the 2023 North American Wildfires disaster profile.

You can support wildfire recovery by donating to our Hawaii Wildfires Recovery Fund.

The state-funded non-congregate sheltering program for displaced survivors from Lahaina ended on June 10, 2024. As of July, only 62 households are still working to finalize their transition to longer-term housing. Another 400 reside in short-term housing units, which the state rents for as much as $11,000 monthly.

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In February, authorities dealt with several fires leading to a state of emergency declaration by Governor Laura Kelly.

Kansas is not usually seen as a top wildfire state, but Wildfires Today magazine reported that “the state experiences at least 5,000 wildfires annually, which ranks it among the top five states for number of wildfire incidents in the country among the likes of Texas, Oregon, and Montana. Kansas is also a top prescribed burning state in acreage, with well over one million acres burned yearly, according to the Coalition of Prescribed Fire Councils.”

However, about 30% of wildfires go unreported, mostly because, unlike many states, fighting fires remains a local responsibility. A key reason for this is the lack of federal lands (less than 0.5%) and home rule status.

The state has not provided an update on previous fires, but the fire weather outlook has moved most of the state into low and moderate risk until March 11.


The Betty’s Way Fire was started by a lawnmower on Monday, Feb. 26, and burned almost 70,000 acres in west-central Nebraska. By Feb. 29, it had reached 98% containment. The fire destroyed four primary residences along with countless outbuildings and agricultural infrastructures.

Two homes and several outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire, which burned in Lincoln, Dawson and Custer counties.

New Mexico

Two devastating wildfires in southern New Mexico began on June 18 and continued to wreak havoc, destroying over 1,400 structures, scorching more than 20,000 acres, and forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents, including the entire village of Ruidoso. Ruidoso, a popular tourist destination with around 7,000 residents, saw apocalyptic scenes on June 17 – smoke-darkened skies, raining embers and visible flames as evacuation orders abruptly came through with little notice. Traffic jammed downtown streets as residents hastily fled with few belongings.

South Fork Fire: A wildfire ignited on Monday, June 17 in the Mescalero Apache tribal region and rapidly spread beyond tribal land, destroying 1,400 structures and engulfing approximately 17,500 acres by the evening of June 18. As of July 10, the fire is 96% contained.

Salt Fire: Nearly 8,000 acres of the Mescalero Apache Tribe’s land was consumed. As of July 10, the fire is 96% contained.

Monsoon rains are ‘pummeling’ the burn scars of the South Fork and Salt fires, leading to extremely hazardous flooding, mudslides and debris flows. The flash flooding events began on July 9 and were ongoing as of July 11.

You can support CDP’s response to wildfires in New Mexico by donating to our Disaster Recovery Fund.

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Several recent fires burned across Oklahoma, including the Smokehouse Creek Fire, which is listed in the Texas section above.

Oklahoma Forestry Services said that between the end of February and early March, there were seven wildfires that burned around 152,294 acres.

These fires include the Catesby Fire in Ellis County, which received a Fire Management Assistant Grant (FMAG) from FEMA to cover response costs and fire equipment. It burned 90,699 acres and was fully contained as of March 17.

The Slapout Fire in Beaver County burned 26,048 acres and was 100% contained as of March 8. Three residences were destroyed.

Fires led to losses of several structures and livestock. The EOC said that there were 19 homes damaged or destroyed, including 12 in Ellis County. Of the other seven homes, two in Beaver County and two in Texas County were uninhabited.

You can support CDP’s response to wildfires in Oklahoma by donating to our Disaster Recovery Fund.

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Watch a video about Oklahoma wildfire recovery


As of July 14, several large fires are burning in Oregon, most with very little containment.

A human-caused wildfire burning on public and private lands, the Cow Valley fire was first reported on July 11 at an estimated size of 20,000 acres. It has grown to reach 129,367 acres with 0% containment. It is located nine miles east of Ironside, Oregon.

The Falls Fire has reached 55,000 acres after tripling in the last day. It is burning in the Malhuer National Forest about 25 miles northwest of Burns. It has no containment. The forest is currently closed.

The Larch Creek Fire is a human-caused fire that started on July 9. It grew to more than 9,000 acres within a day. It is at 18,486 acres with 10% containment. The fire is 10 miles southwest of Dufur, Oregon.

The Pioneer Fire is now at 15,757 acres with 14% containment after burning for more than a month. It is located 31 miles northwest of Chelan. While it is mostly burning on forestry land, any significant growth would put population centers at risk. It is burning in the 2001 Rex Creek burn’s footprint. Temperatures of 100˚F or hotter with gusty winds are increasing spread and making the fire harder to fight.


Smokehouse Creek Fire: A wildfire in Texas became the biggest fire ever in the state and the second-largest wildfire in U.S. history on Feb. 26. The fire burned more than 1.06 million acres in Texas and nearly 70,000 acres in Oklahoma. After burning for nearly three weeks, destroying farms and ranches, the Smokehouse Creek Fire was completely contained on March 16.

Disaster declarations were issued by Governor Greg Abbott for 60 counties in response to the Smokehouse Creek Fire and three other fires. More than 100 miles of power lines will need to be rebuilt. Approximately 30,000 people were located within the perimeter of the fire.

More than 500 structures, including homes, barns, outbuildings, and businesses were destroyed, and estimates show that more than 10,000 head of cattle died.  Many family farmers and ranchers lost everything.

Windy Deuce Fire: In the town of Fritch, the mayor estimated that at least 50 homes were destroyed by the Windy Deuce Fire in the southern part of the community in late February. Home to slightly more than 2,100 people, the north side of Fritch also burned in a wildfire in 2014.

The Windy Deuce Fire burned 144,045 acres, with 100% containment as of March 18.

You can support CDP’s response to wildfires in Texas by donating to our Disaster Recovery Fund.

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Multiple wildfires ignited during high winds on March 20 and burned across Virginia and West Virginia, particularly in the Shenandoah Valley. Five wildfires, three in Virginia and two in West Virginia, known as the North Zone Complex, collectively burned 15,977 total acres.

The biggest of the five burned 6,399 acres in Shenandoah and Page Counties. Initial reports of damages found at least 10 homes destroyed in Page County and four others damaged.

The U.S. Forest Service released its final fire update on April 3, finding all fires to be 100% contained.

West Virginia

On March 20, the Waites Run Fire and Cove Mountain Fire started in West Virginia and were part of the North Zone Complex with three other wildfires in Virginia. The two wildfires collectively burned over 6,300 acres of land until U.S. Forest Services confirmed that they had been 100% contained on April 3.

On March 22, the National Guard sent two helicopters and dropped nearly 95,000 gallons of water in particularly dry, rough and dangerous terrain.

No casualties or injuries were reported.


The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) coordinates resource sharing, mutual aid and information sharing including, facilitation of wildfire cooperation and coordination.

The current National Preparedness Level is set to Level 4 meaning: “Wildland fire activity is significant within one or more jurisdictions. The demand for mobilization of firefighters and equipment from other jurisdictions is high.”

CIFFC’s National Situation Report is published weekly between May and August and provides information on fire activity from the previous calendar day, including seasonal cumulative.

As of July 11, Canada has seen 2,563 fires, which burned 3.3 million acres of land. This is significantly lower than 2023’s year-to-date totals at the same time; by mid-July 2023, Canada had experienced 3,879 fires, which had burned 23.5 million acres

In 2023, there were a total of 6,551 fires, which burned 45.7 million acres of land. By comparison, in 2022, there were 4,883 wildfires which scorched 3.6 million acres. This means nearly 13 times more land was destroyed in 2023 compared to 2022.

According to the July 12, 2024 North American Fire Outlook, “Although both Canadian fire numbers and area burned are close to or below normal in most jurisdictions at the start of July, an extended hot and dry spell appears set to increase numbers as the month progresses. The number of fires as of July 8 was at 2,254, about 77% of the 10-year average, and the area burned near 1 million hectares, about 61% of the 10-year average. These numbers may be closer to normal than the 10-year average suggests, given the huge amount of area burned during 2023 has elevated the means. Yukon and New Brunswick remain the only jurisdictions reporting more than the usual number of fires as of July 8, while British Columbia, Yukon, and Newfoundland have more area burned than the 10year normal. Most of the British Columbia area burned is due to fires in the northeast.”

British Columbia (BC)

British Columbia has 150 active fires as of July 11, 2024, many of which are still burning from last year. Sixty-nine of those fires are out of control. Since April 2023, BC has experienced 2,727 fires. The “fire year” restarted on April 1, 2024. There have been 434 wildfires burning a total of 605,896 hectares (nearly 1.5 million acres) in the new fire year.

The largest-ever fire in British Columbia, the Donnie Creek Blaze, burned an area larger than Prince Edward Island. The fire burned on the traditional territory of the Blueberry River, Prophet River and Doig River First Nations and destroyed traplines, important ceremonial landmarks, massive amounts of timber, blueberries and other berries, and habitat for deer, bison and moose. This caused significant disruptions to Indigenous communities and the lumber and milling industries. The fire burned over 1.53 million acres and, as of July 11, 2024, is still burning. The wildfire reignited in early May and is out of control, burning just under 6,500 acres.


In Alberta, there are 105 active fires, including carry-over fires. There are 101 fires burning that started in 2024 as of July 11. Forty fires are under control, 32 are being held and 33 are out of control.

In the “Wildfires of Note” from the Government of Alberta, there were three wildfires of note, meaning a wildfire that is highly visible or poses a potential threat to public safety, as of July 11, 2024, the last time this document was updated. They are known as the Semo Complex, the Cattail Lake Complex and the Rabbit Lake Wildfire.

Northwest Territories (NWT)

In Canada’s far north, the NWT has reported a total of 93 fires in 2024 with 59 active fires and 51 fires out of control, as of July 11. 

NWT has a population of only 45,000 people. Two-thirds of this northern, near-Arctic territory was displaced by wildfires at least once during the summer of 2023, including the territory’s capital city, Yellowknife, home to 20,000 people.


The province reports 217 fires burning 16,342 hectares (40,381 acres) in 2024 as of July 11, well below the 10-year average of 324 fires and 116,021 hectares (286,694 acres) burned.

Similarly, Quebec experienced 713 total fires in 2023 (566 in the Intensive Zone and 147 in the Nordic Zone) compared to the 10-year average number of annual fires of 439.

Quebec experienced a record-breaking forest fire in 2023. More than 11 million acres burned, compared to the 10-year average of 39,051 acres. This represents almost one-quarter of the country’s land lost.


Fire season in Mexico is generally in February and peaks mid-March through May.

According to the June 14, 2024, North American Fire Outlook, above-normal precipitation decreased drought indices and drought-affected areas.

As of July 11, Mexico has recorded 7054 fires, burning over 942,243 hectares (2.3 million acres). Fire activity is fueled by dry conditions and high temperatures, which are exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon.

Previously on March 27, four people were reported dead following a wave of wildfires, burning more than 32,000 acres. More than 6,000 forest firefighters were deployed. However, a shortage of firefighters in some areas caused locals to fight the fire themselves, and they were met with fire-friendly conditions such as strong winds.

The fires come at a time when approximately 60% of Mexico is experiencing extreme heat leading to exceptional drought and 21 million residents of Mexico City are battling a water crisis.

There are several areas of ongoing support that are needed in the recovery phase from a fire. These include rebuilding homes or repairing damage, soil remediation, temporary housing, physical and mental health, assistance for survivors in navigating disaster recovery resources, community and economic development, agricultural support and livelihood/income support.

Funders should also consider options to support fire-impacted communities in “blue sky” times to reduce the impact of future fires.

Award loans and grants for rebuilding damaged homes and businesses.

In the U.S., there is currently a $2 million cap on disaster loans for businesses or private and nonprofit organizations through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. That amount may not cover what is needed, and monies allocated may be slow to arrive.

Companies also often hire migrant workers to work on rebuilding projects and do not always provide safe and adequate housing, food and other support. Make fair hiring practices a component of your grants.

Support local agencies on the ground throughout the disaster life cycle, especially those working with marginalized communities.

People already in vulnerable situations before a disaster – older adults, undocumented and mixed-status families, people living with physical or mental health challenges, and people living in poverty – may find their circumstances worsened in the face of disaster and continue to face challenges during the recovery phase.  

Organizations working with at-risk populations must have plans to mitigate the disaster’s impacts. These organizations are better informed about local culture than outside entities and will be on the ground for years.

Read about the impact of funding local agencies to provide bilingual and culturally appropriate mental health services to fire survivors in California’s Sonoma County here.

Fund drought mitigation efforts.

These may focus on sustainable agriculture, water conservation or land use.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, an emerging area for research is land use patterns that “maintain the integrity of watersheds and that have a smaller paved footprint result in greater resilience in the face of drought.”

Invest in public awareness and educational campaigns.

Simple efforts such as clearing flammable materials from 100 feet around structures may help prevent property damage. Fires can also be started by misuse of equipment, such as grills, that can be averted with simple preparedness strategies. 

Investing in awareness and educational campaigns, including the dissemination of promising practices in wildfire and drought mitigation, can help people stay alert and prepare in case of fire.

Assist businesses to reduce economic impact.

By developing a business continuing and disaster recovery plan for business owners, the impact of disasters can be reduced and set the stage for recovery. These plans should include contingencies for displaced workers, data backup and alternate facilities for continuing operations in the event of property damage. 

Consider the needs of volunteer fire departments.

As volunteers, many smaller fire departments often lack the structural support afforded to larger departments, and their resources may have been quickly depleted during the wildfire.

Support the creation of smart growth efforts.

Smart growth efforts and planning can help mitigate wildfires or prevent them altogether. 

Mental health

Mental health is always a significant issue following fires, especially fires that cause loss of life. Funders can support organizations, particularly those on the ground long-term, to provide mental health services to their communities for years to come. This should be broader than traditional therapists, as some ethnic or religious communities need culturally competent and supportive services.

In Hawaii, traditional Hawaiian beliefs differ from Western cultures, so care should be provided by Native Hawaiian groups or organizations whenever possible.

Funders could also consider providing additional funding for shelters or services for people dealing with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and for rehab facilities or services for people with addictions. IPV and addiction issues often increase after disasters.

Children’s mental health needs are an important consideration. CDP’s now-closed Colorado Wildfires Fund provided a grant to Impact on Education to support mental health centers in Boulder County schools after the Marshall Fire and subsequent wildfires.

CDP has specific funds for wildfire needs in California and Hawaii. In addition, our Disaster Recovery Fund supports wildfire-affected areas in the remainder of the United States, and has a drop-down for the fires in New Mexico. Our Global Recovery Fund supports Canada, Mexico and other countries.

Support wildfire recovery

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Philanthropic contributions

If you would like to make a gift to our Hawaii Wildfires Recovery Fund, California Wildfires Recovery Fund, Disaster Recovery Fund or Global Recovery Fund, need help with your disaster-giving strategy, or want to share how you’re responding to this disaster, please contact development.

(Photo by Malachi Brooks on Unsplash)

Recovery updates

If you are a responding NGO, please send updates on how you are working on recovery from this disaster to

We welcome the republication of our content. Please credit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Philanthropic and government support

Through funding from Google and the CDP Disaster Recovery Fund, CDP awarded Flower Hill Institute $60,000 in flexible funding to support local Indigenous and Tribal communities’ stewardship, protection and rewilding of culturally significant lands, and enable access to resources for recovery from wildfires in New Mexico following the April 2022 wildfires.

Through funding from Google and the CDP Disaster Recovery Fund, statewide nonprofit news source Texas Tribune received $30,000 to provide in-depth coverage of wildfire recovery and investigative reporting on the issues that exacerbated 2024’s Smokehouse Creek Fire’s impacts on the Texas Panhandle.

  • From the Hawaii Wildfires Recovery Fund: CDP awarded Common Ground Collective $172,500 to support local food security and economic recovery, providing locally-grown, culturally-appropriate food for fire-displaced Maui residents.
  • CDP provided a grant of $250,000 to Honolulu Civil Beat to support the presence of a local, dedicated journalism team in Maui focused on providing accurate and free community information, informed debate, leadership accountability and encouraging action.
  • CDP issued a $250,000 grant to Kelea Foundation to ensure equitable recovery from Maui’s wildfires for older adults, persons with disabilities and access and functional needs, and persons with complex medical cases through advocacy, case management, transportation services, adaptive recreation opportunities, and an adaptive and medical equipment supply closet.
  • Through funding from Google and the Hawaii Wildfires Recovery Fund, CDP awarded Maui United Way $150,000 to support their equity-based cash assistance fund for survivors of the 2023 Lahaina and Upcountry Fires.

From the California Wildfires Recovery Fund:

  • CDP awarded a $200,000 grant to Northern Valley Catholic Social Service Inc. (NVCSS) to increase wildfire resilience levels while reducing associated risks among vulnerable populations within the NVCSS service region.
  • CDP issued a $300,000 grant to Northern California Grantmakers (NCG) to expand their disaster resilience investment in the philanthropic sector. NCG is working with CDP to convene, educate, inform and help strategically direct philanthropic giving in light of state and local government investments in this area to support mitigation projects throughout the state to build a more prepared and resilient California.
  • CDP provided a $99,734 grant to Corazon Healdsburg (Scopa Has A Dream Inc.) to provide wildfire disaster preparedness and prevention training for clients. By providing emergency disaster kits and support for renters insurance as well, clients will be better able to face future wildfires and be more resilient.
  • Corazón Healdsburg was also awarded an additional $300,000 to empower Northern Sonoma County communities affected by multiple hazards and migration—both forced and voluntary—by offering comprehensive assistance and resources to cultivate resilience, foster a sense of belonging, and establish enduring roots in their new home. Funds for this grant come from the CDP California Wildfires Recovery Fund and the CDP Disaster Recovery Fund designated to support recovery from storms that affected the area in 2023.

From its now-closed Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund, CDP provided a $309,686 grant to Impact on Education. The grant allowed Impact on Education to expand its mental health advocate program at seven schools in Louisville, Superior and Boulder County, where the Marshall Fire devastated communities.

More ways to help

As with most disasters, experts recommend cash donations. They allow on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the most significant area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs.

CDP has also created a list of suggestions for foundations to consider related to disaster giving. These include:

  • Take the long view: Even while focusing on immediate needs, remember that it will take some time for the full range of needs to emerge. Be patient in planning for disaster funding. Recovery will take a long time and funding will be needed throughout.
  • Recognize there are places private philanthropy can help that government agencies might not: Private funders have opportunities to develop innovative solutions to help prevent or mitigate future disasters that the government cannot execute.
  • All funders are disaster philanthropists: Even if your organization does not work in a particular geographic area or fund immediate relief efforts, you can look for ways to tie disaster funding into your existing mission. If you focus on education, health, children or vulnerable populations, disasters present prime funding opportunities.
  • Ask the experts: If you are considering supporting an organization that is positioned to work in an affected area, do some research. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters can provide resources and guidance about organizations working in affected communities within the United States. InterAction can provide information about organizations providing support outside of the U.S. Local community foundations also have insights into nongovernmental organizations that are best suited to respond in a particular community. CDP’s partner, the Council on Foundations summarized resources available to guide philanthropy following the wildfires in Hawaii, including resources from CDP.


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Weather can significantly affect the frequency and severity of wildfires. Prolonged drought can extend prime wildfire season, making blazes more likely. Additionally, high temperatures and low humidity can quickly dry out vegetation which then becomes potential fuel.



Drought is often defined as an unusual period of drier than normal weather that leads to a water shortage. Drought causes more deaths and displaces more people than any other disaster.

Extreme Heat

Extreme Heat

While the average temperature continues to increase at a moderate pace, climate change has caused more frequent extreme weather events, particularly extreme heat.