As fire crews continue to combat the aggressive Blue Cut Fire in San Bernardino, community members have been trying to figure out how they can help the thousands of people who have been left vulnerable in the fire zone.
Many nearby residents have taken to Facebook to offer their services to others in need, particularly in sheltering and transporting animals. Below are a few active Facebook groups that have been connecting residents in the area (joining the groups requires administrative approval):
Please keep in mind that requests for donations and assistance have not been vetted, either by KPCC or the groups’ administrators, so take caution when responding.
If you're looking for more general ways to help, we've rounded up a few:
In general, firefighters and shelters are fully stocked with donations, officials said. Fire crews have plenty of water, sleeping facilities and food to keep them going while mobilized, said U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Lyn Sieliet.
The Red Cross, which is running two evacuation centers at the Jessie Turner Community Center on Summit Avenue in Fontana as well as Sultana High School in Hesperia, also said it had received generous amounts of donations from the community.
“It’s been amazing,” said Red Cross spokesperson Georgia Duncan. “We have plenty of water and snacks and toiletries, even toilet paper. We’ve got enough to last probably most of the disaster.”
However, if conditions change, Duncan said the Red Cross would be posting information on its website or Twitter account about what supplies were needed and where.
In the meantime, she recommended those looking to help to donate through the Red Cross through its website, or sending an automatic $10 donation by texting 90999.
The Inland Empire chapter of United Way launched a general relief fund on their website for victims of the fire. Donations will be used to address the "short- and long-term needs" of those affected, according to the website, and the organization will work with other local nonprofits and service providers to determine what is needed most.
Those looking for places to shelter their animals can go to the Apple Valley Animal Shelter, the Devore Animal Shelter or the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville.
The Apple Valley shelter is accepting dogs and cats while the Devore shelter and the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds are accepting small and large animals.
A volunteer at the Apple Valley shelter told KPCC that they had taken in more than 100 animals as of Thursday morning and that if people wanted to help, they could donate:
- Litter boxes
- Cat litter
- Pooper scoopers
- Reptile food – dry reptile food, frozen mice, frozen rats, dried or live mealworms
- Bird food
- 55-gallon trash bags
- Dry food for dogs and cats
- Wet food for cats
A volunteer at the Devore shelter told KPCC they could help by donating dog and cat food or "anything they can use for their pets." They also need food for guinea pigs, ferrets and reptiles.
The San Bernardino County Fairgrounds housed animals during the Pilot Fire, and still had a surplus of donations received from community members, said Geoff Rinds, CEO of the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds. But they expected to take in a larger number of animals this time around, meaning they could burn through their current supplies quickly. If so, they would put out a notice for donations through their Facebook page and via volunteer programs, Rinds said.
While the Red Cross is running shelters in Fontana and Hesperia, Airbnb has set up a page to connect hosts offering places for evacuees to stay for free. The company has also waived service fees for those affected by the disaster who check in from now until Aug. 30.
Do you have suggestions for other ways to help? Tweet us @KPCC or let us know in the comments! below.