When I was eight years old, our house caught on fire early one autumn Monday evening.  Thankfully, we were not home when the fire went ablaze.  Also thankfully, our family was only displaced for nine months or so, we were able to rebuild, and move back in.

The wildfires that are currently burning throughout a large swath of northern California, through rural and urban areas alike, brings back some of those feelings I had as a kid:  fear, uncertainty, residual anxiety.   And I had nothing of the actual loss nor fear for life that many thousands are experiencing with the north bay fires.

Well over 100,000 acres so far have been burned, more than 3,500 homes lost, at least 20 people have died.  And the fires are essentially zero percent contained going on the fourth day of the burn.

Fire fighting teams have been deployed from all the counties in the area, many also from other areas within California and other western states.  The National Guard is involved.

Tens of thousands of people displaced.

And the effect on the economy in that region?  You can’t count that high.

If you haven’t read much on what’s at stake due to this event, here are a few good resources to gain a better understanding.

Cal Fire Director:  “This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event.”

Air quality in the region?  BAD.

California Wine Industry Loses?  No Doubt.

There will be plenty more written and discussed as we struggle through this challenging time.

Pray for the lives lost.  Pray for those who’ve lost everything.  Pray for the responders.

Help if you can.

Multiple areas [List and Links courtesy of the Sacramento Bee]

 People have created a public Google Doc on which people are listing available housing; see it here.
  • People are opening up their land for people to stay on through Hipcamp. Check out a list and how to offer your land here.
  • Here’s a list of GoFundMe pages dedicated to California fire relief:
  • Crop Mobster has created a resource listing and map where anyone can post needs or offers of help:
  • Donate to United Way of the Wine Country.
  • Redwood Credit Union has established a North Bay Relief Fund:
  • The Red Cross is seeking volunteers to assist fire evacuees. Log in here to get connected and see where help is needed: They can also use donations; you can give online,, call 800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Give to a California food Bank that’s helping victims. Here’s a list:
  • Visit to register as a disaster service worker.
  • Airbnb hosts are opening their homes for free to evacuees through Oct. 30.
  • Stay clear of evacuation routes as much as possible if you are not under evacuation orders.
  • Do not call 911 for general information. Call only for an emergency including unattended, active flames and life-threatening emergencies. Please keep these lines open for emergency responders.
  • Visit the Tubbs Fire (Lake/Sonoma/Mendo) Facebook group to get involved in community discussion, find lost pets and offer services, along with the Tubbs Fire Safety Check-inFacebook page, which has a support link. You can post services you have to offer. Search for other community groups on Facebook to open the conversation and get up-to-date needs.
  • Many shelters are in need of bedding. See a list of shelters here.

Sonoma County

  • Medical professionals: Contact the Red Cross at 707-577-7600 for volunteer placement and assessment.
  • Community members: Just want to volunteer somewhere? Contact the Sonoma County Emergency Operations Center Shelter division at or call 707-573-3399 to determine where you can be of assistance.
  • Elsie Allen High, 599 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa, needs volunteers and doctors and nurses for medically fragile evacuees. Sign up here. Also needs men’s underwear M; men’s underwear XL; boy’s underwear; womens underwear 6-8; girls underwear; flashlights; sleeping masks; girls socks (size 7 and below); batteries; duct tape; foldout tables; sweats L/XL; cleaning wipes/sprays; new towels.
  • The Lucchesi Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma, will needs help overnight. Sign up at the site. Also needs hot chocolate; packets or containers; cough drops; lemon honey tea; N95 masks; 30 pillows; 25 XL men’s pants; 2 oxygen tanks; tums; sterile water; 10 beauty scissors; 50 nail clippers; small gloves; 50 hairbrushes; 100 Chapstick; 500 small cups for medicine distribution; C-pap machine; 50 shampoo bottles, small and large; 25 tubes of diaper cream; 10 packs of adult diapers.
  • Calvary Chapel: Doing 6 hours shifts. Call to sign up for future shifts: 707-766-1567. Also needs women’s underwear is all sizes and bras in all sizes.
  • Petaluma Vets Building, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. S, Petaluma – Needs volunteers for a variety of jobs.
  • Analy High School, 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol, needs volunteers and gauze 4×4; gauze 2×2; cotton balls; coolers (new plug in); denture cream; denture brushes; denture cups; Aquaphor; paper plates; batteries (most sizes); flashlights; bras (new in package); children’s socks (new in package); squeeze packs, kids fruit to go; dual channel radios (walkie talkies); Nebulizer (for use w/ Oxygen Tank0, tubing); nasal canula; 4 gallons of milk; 4 quarts of half and half; four bags of ground coffee.
  • Roaring Donkey, 146 Kentucky St., Petaluma, is accepting donations of pet food, camping supplies, tents, sleeping bags, nonperishable food, cellphone chargers, diapers, wipes, toiletries, new underwear, socks and bras. (No other clothing at this point.)
  • Xandax, 1360 Redwood Way, Petaluma is accepting donations Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. of kids backpacks, lunchboxes, paper, pencils, small whiteboards, erasers, pens, dry erase markers/erasers, notebooks, folders, glue sticks, other general school supplies.
  • The Sweet Zone Petaluma, 151 Petaluma Blvd. So., #113, is open daily from 11-8 p.m. Please donate pencils, colored pencils, erasers, paper, graph paper, composition notebooks, pencil sharpeners, pencil boxes or bags, lunch boxes for little and big kids, sharpies, dividers, glue sticks, one inch binders, blue pens, black pens, red pens for older students, markers, small scissors, folders, spiral notebooks of papers/mead notebooks, graph paper and backpacks.
  • The Cavanagh Center (Mentor Me), 426 Eigth St., Petaluma, needs blankets; a wire racks –; storage bins –; sharpies; tupperware; towels; bedding; and masking tape. It could also use gift cards (to Target, grocery stores … etc.). It’s seeking volunteers as well; email or call 707-778-4798.
  • The Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma – Contact them Thursday for new volunteer needs: 707-283-3247. Medical professional sign-up is here: Volunteers are working shifts that rotate every 4 hours: 15-20 volunteers for shifts taking place 7 a.m. to noon; 15-20 for 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; and 5-7 volunteers for 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. Directions: Enter the fairgrounds from Gate #3 (Payran Street). Park in the livestock area. Check in at Herzog Hall to be assigned a job. Current needs: Tarps to cover donations, clear plastic bins with lids, fans, air purifier, cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, bleach (gallon), water, N95(MG) masks. Pet supplies: Drive them to the back and drop off; crates needed. About 140 head of livestock coming in from various places to the fairgrounds. They need help – Park in parking lot D and walk in do not drive on the fairgrounds.
  • Fire Relief Fund via Race For Kids Gran Fondo: Local grass-roots fundraiser with a team of volunteers who are buying supplies for shelters as new needs arise.
  • Sonoma Valley High, 20000 Broadway, Sonoma, needs clothing donations.
  • The Santa Rosa Gymnastics Center, 2210 Bluebell Drive, Santa Rosa, is accepting donations until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Les Schwab’s four locations in Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Windsor are accepting donations.
  • Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, needs volunteers for feeding livestock. It’s expecting more animals. This is also the staging area for firefighters and the army, so water and food for them is appreciated. 707-545-4200
  • Items can be taken to The Salvation Army at 93 Stony Circle, Unit D, Santa Rosa.
  • The Sonoma Humane Society, 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County Animal Services, 1247 Century Court, Santa Rosa, are offering no-cost veterinary treatment for animal burn victims. The humane society is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; animal services is offering 24/7 service until further notice. It is currently acting as the clearinghouse for Lost and Found pets for Sonoma County with Sonoma County Animal Services. Those who have lost or found an animal should message the humane society on Facebook and be sure to hashtag #LOSTPETSsonomacountyfire2017. The humane society is in need of special cat litter that’s better for cats with burns on their feet, Yesterday’s News. Newspapers shredded into strips also work. It also needs pet food. It also has volunteer needs for helping with phones, greeting guests, directing traffic, and helping with laundry and donation intake. Animal services is in need of water bowls (any size), disposable lasagna pans (for cat/kitten litter), animal food including sweet mix for horses or goats, egg layer for chickens, pig feed, dog and cat food (wet or dry, any brand) and grass hay for all, grain buckets, baby/wet wipes. Call animal services at 707-565-4406 for donation and general information.
  • There is a community foster Facebook network for pets: Community Foster for Tubbs Fire Animals.
  • SHARE Sonoma County has created temporary home sharing for those who have lost their housing due to the recent fires. They currently have over 40 home providers offering housing. Anyone needing housing due to the fire or offering housing should contact or 707-765-8488, ext. 126.
  • Volunteer at the New Life Christian Center; here’s the signup:
  • Casa Grande parking lot, 333 Casa Grande Road, Petaluma, needs cleaning due to lots of people going through this week.
  • Santa Rosa Memorial, 1165 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, needs medical staff. 707-525-5300
  • Elks Lodge, 2105 South McDowell Blvd.: Call 707-763-0901, ext. 0, first for future volunteer needs (currently at capacity for volunteers).
  • Redwood Empire Food Bank, 3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa, (supplier for the evacuation centers) says all needs are currently met. Check back at 3 p.m. Thursday by calling 707-573-3399. Fill out a form here.

Yuba County

  • The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Evacuation Center, 442 Franklin Ave., Yuba City, needs items, which can be taken to the main gate. For people: Toiletries, new undergarments, diapers (kids and adults), and cases of water. For animals: Bedding, disposable baking pans for litter, small dishes, sheets to cover cages, folding cages.

Napa County

  • Napa Valley College is seeking volunteers to help sort donations. Currently in need of the following: Pillowcases (new), sanitary wipes, tampons, pads, flip-flops, shower sandals, blankets, sheets (new), underclothes (new) (all sizes and genders), lip balm, baby clothes (new), pillows (new), respiratory masks, water
  • Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) has mobilized its Disaster Relief Fund. Make a gift here.

Marin County

  • New Life Church, 1370 S. Novato Blvd., Novato, is opening a new an evacuation center. It needs four teams to volunteer for check-in/registration, security, hospitality and donation station. Also, volunteers are needed around the clock starting at 12 p.m. Thursday. Shifts are 4 hours, sign up for back to back shifts if possible. Sign up for volunteering here.
  • Marin Center Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael: If you wish to volunteer, do not just show up; register at
  • Lighthouse Church, 1915 Novato Blvd., Novato, needs toddlers’ clothes, specifically 2T-3T boys and girls.

2 thoughts on “Fire!

  1. We lost our house due to a fire when I was 15 and then when my oldest son was 2 months old we had a large fire in the unit next to us and we had to move out for 6 month. Fire can be so devastating. My prayers will not stop for all dealing with this horrible event. Thank you so much for writing this. Once again you are very eloquent with your words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s