The wildfires ravaging the West Coast of the U.S. have killed many people, forced millions to evacuate, and left millions more seeing a blanket of smoke cover their typically blue skies. Across California, Oregon and Washington, fires have burned millions of acres of land during a global pandemic. Now is the time to help.
Donations to the Red Cross will ensure that your money goes directly toward the fires. If you’d like your donation to help a specific state, type in the memo line “California wildfires,” “Oregon wildfires,” or “Washington wildfires,” depending on your choice.
Donating blood is another way to help if you can. Over 90 blood drives across California, Oregon and Washington have had to close due to the fires and have caused a shortage in over 2,000 blood platelet donations, according to the Red Cross. The Red Cross has the ability to move blood wherever it is needed most in the country; therefore, donating at your nearest blood drive will still be beneficial for the wildfires on the West Coast.
If you have the time and are willing to put yourself at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 to help people in need, then signing up to volunteer is the best thing to do. The Red Cross is urgently looking for shelter service associates, shelter supervisors, disaster health service associates and supervisors as well as blood donor support. If you still want to do more but aren’t comfortable exposing yourself to coronavirus, the Red Cross also has volunteering from home with virtual positions.
Across the fundraising platform GoFundMe, there are many pages set up to donate specifically to people’s causes. To go to a centralized page for Oregon, visit GoFundMe’s website and search for Oregon fires.
You can also provide Californian evacuees, firefighters, and volunteers meals through your donation at Meals of Gratitude. Check local counties’ websites for the states you wish to help in order to get lists of things the county needs or other specific ways to help.
Helping people on the West Coast not only helps those impacted directly by the fires but also helps fight climate change here in Florida. The more awareness we bring to climate change by spreading the word about wildfires, the more we can bring awareness and change to our community.
In Florida, we see rising seas and retreating shores, hotter temperatures that lead to worse storm damage, and coral reef damage as a result of climate change, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
In terms of wildfires, climate change is a leading cause in the increased severity of the fires, and the more fires we have, the worse climate change we will have both in the country and around the world, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“As the forests burn, they release carbon dioxide and other global warming gases, worsening climate change,” states a Sept. 8 article by the Union of Concerned Scientists. “As wildfires burn more land, emissions go up.”