The Latest On California's Wildfires

The news about the Camp fire got worse on Thursday, as authorities announced that the number of missing persons has skyrocketed from 297 to 631.

Meanwhile, the confirmed death toll rose by seven to 63.

The week-old fire has consumed 140,000 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Thursday.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea explained Thursday night that the number of missing is compiled from their different missing-persons hotlines. He said, "You have to understand, folks: This is a dynamic list. Some days there might be more people. Some days there might be less people." He added that "a lot of people don't know that we are looking for them." (NBC News)

These local Chico, Ca. businesses have set up relief funds and are ready to assist:

  • Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation will create sub accounts within their Foundation for businesses, employees, individuals or groups to accept contributions and self-direct funding for Camp Fire relief. Anyone interested in this service should contact the Bank directly at (530) 894-1000 and ask for Mark Francis or Julia Wilson, or simply mention the Camp Fire Relief effort.
  • Tri Counties Bank has started the Camp Fire Fund 2018 account with an initial deposit of $25,000 to benefit victims of the fires. Those who would like to donate to the Camp Fire Fund 2018 can at any Tri Counties Bank Branch or make a donation online at https://www.gofundme.com/tcb-2018-camp-fire-fund
  • North Valley Community Foundation set up a fund to raise money to support the operations of organizations that are sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire. Please visit www.nvcf.org/fund/camp-fire-evacuation-relief-fund

To help those impacted in Southern California...

United Way of Greater Los Angeles: This local branch of the national organization is raising money for those affected by the Woolsey and Hill Fires, specifically to help low-income residents.

Entertainment Industry Foundation: This nonprofit, started by Hollywood stars, has a fund that helps firefighters and other emergency workers battling California wildfires. One of its beneficiaries is the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots.

Humane Society of Ventura County: This nonprofit is accepting donations to help animals displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires. It is taking in domestic animals, such as dogs, cats and birds, as well as livestock.

There are multiple crowdfunding efforts for victims of the California fires. GoFundMe has organized a page that catalogs the relief efforts in Northern and Southern California. It includes links to donate to families who have lost their homes.

Google is collecting donations to help those affected by the wildfires in Southern California. It will funnel the donations to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which will distribute the money to local nonprofits.

Additionally, Airbnb has launched a program that asks people to open their homes to those affected by the fires. Until Nov. 29, the company is allowing residents to mark their homes as a place for evacuees and aid workers to stay for free. 

(links provided by The New York Times)

Mike Bell

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