Massive, wind-driven fires have scorched over 230,000 acres across Ventura and Los Angeles Counties and are forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate to safer areas. Hundreds of homes and other structures have already been destroyed, the blazes are mostly uncontained, and the Santa Ana winds powering their spread are expected to continue in the coming days.
The thick smoke in the air caused by the wildfires is affecting thousands of people throughout the region and is particularly dangerous for first responders and people who already suffer from respiratory issues. People have been encouraged to limit their time outdoors and are advised to wear N-95 masks, which filter out unhealthy particulates, for added protection when outside. Medications, especially for chronic illnesses, are also needed as people forced to evacuate quickly often leave prescription drugs and supplies behind.
Direct Relief’s Response
Direct Relief has been responding to communities in Southern California impacted by the spate of wildfires, delivering respiratory supplies and emergency medicines to facilities and shelters caring for people in those communities. Direct Relief is a longtime partner of the State of California through its Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and has been coordinating its response to the wildfires with state officials. Direct Relief is also working closely with the California, Ventura, and Los Angeles Departments of Public Health to assess medical needs. In addition, a special outreach to Direct Relief’s extensive network of community health centers and free/charitable medical clinics located within the wildfire-affected or nearby areas is being conducted on an ongoing basis.