Emergency Response: California Wildfires

GLEN ELLEN, CA – OCTOBER 09: The remains of fire damaged homes after an out of control wildfire moved through the area on October 9, 2017 in Glen Ellen, California. Tens of thousands of acres and dozens of homes and businesses have burned in widespread wildfires that are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In response to wildfires burning across Northern California, Direct Relief has offered emergency assistance to California’s Office of Emergency Services, the Napa County Public Health Department, and more than 40 health centers and clinics in the affected region.

The fast-moving fires have burned at least 57,000 acres and 1,500 structures, prompting Governor Jerry Brown on Monday to issue an emergency proclamation for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties. The emergency declaration authorizes the deployment of California’s National Guard.

Click the map above to view the current Northern California wildfires. (Andrew Schroeder/Direct Relief)

As of Monday afternoon, more than 100 people were seeking care for fire-related injuries including burns and smoke inhalation. Several evacuation centers have been set up in the affected regions, but many have reached capacity.

For more than a decade, Direct Relief has been a member of the California Business Operations Center to mobilize private medical resources during emergencies and ensure coordination with official response efforts. It was activated today.

An emergency shipment containing N-95 particulate masks left Direct Relief’s warehouse on Monday, Oct. 9. The masks, which have a higher filtration than paper and surgical masks, are among the available items in Direct Relief’s fire-related inventory. (Bryn Blanks/Direct Relief)

Direct Relief has dispatched an emergency shipment of N-95 masks, which protect against inhalation of fine particulate matter in ash and smoke, to Lake County Public Health Department. Medical assistance has also been offered to 40 health centers and clinics as mass evacuations continue to unfold.

Beyond the immediate danger posed to nearby communities, wildfires can exacerbate chronic health issues such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. For those with such conditions, fires deal a harsh mix of smoke, dust and other particulates in the air.

Direct Relief maintains an inventory of fire-related items – N-95 particulate masks, inhalers, nebulizers and personal care items – for wildfire events, which are available to partners upon their request.

Check back for additional updates on the situation as it evolves.

Further Reading


Wildfires rage in swath of California’s wine country

Multiple people were treated for injuries, CNN affiliate KPIX reported. The blazes engulfed acreage in Sonoma and Napa counties as responders worked through the night to fight the fires. In Sonoma County, Santa Rosa’s city manager declared the fires a local emergency. The Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Rosa was under evacuation, the fire department said.

Hundreds evacuated as multiple fires burn in Napa Valley and Sonoma

Hundreds evacuated their homes in Napa Valley and Sonoma County overnight as multiple fires ravaged the area, authorities said Monday morning. In Napa County, there were three major active fires as of about 5:45 a.m., plus additional smaller fires, said Napa County spokeswoman Molly Rattigan.