California Wildfires

Medical Aid En Route to California Communities Ravaged by Wildfires

Direct Relief dispatches N-95 masks, inhalers, eye wash and other essential medicines to fire-impacted communities.

Inhalers, N-95 masks, eye wash and essential medicines leave Direct Relief's warehouse Thursday night bound for areas impacted by the Hill Fire in Ventura County. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Inhalers, N-95 masks, eye wash and essential medicines leave Direct Relief's warehouse Thursday night bound for areas impacted by the Hill Fire in Ventura County. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

Major fires broke out across California Tuesday, closing freeways and forcing residents to evacuate by the thousands.

The Camp Fire in Butte County scorched more than 18,000 acres since erupting hours earlier in the Sierra Foothills near Chico.

Meanwhile, in Ventura County, where a mass shooting last night left 13 people dead, the fast-moving Hill Fire sent hundreds fleeing as it threatened neighborhoods and closed highway 101 between Camarillo and Newbury Park.

The blazes come a year to the day since a fire-storm broke out across Northern California, ripping through neighborhoods and killing 44, and within weeks of the Thomas Fire, which burned more more than 280,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

In Dec. 2017, the Thomas Fire, pictured here, scorched more than 280,000 acres . Nearly a year later, a new series of fires has broken out across the state. (Photo courtesy of Donnie Hedden)
In Dec. 2017, the Thomas Fire, pictured here, scorched more than 280,000 acres . Nearly a year later, a new series of fires has broken out across the state. (Photo courtesy of Donnie Hedden)

Direct Relief responded extensively during and after those fires, and again stands ready to assist, having already extended offers of assistance to health centers and clinics statewide, in and around the fire perimeters.

On Thursday night, Direct Relief staff packed eight pallets of N-95 respiratory masks, as well as over-the-counter prescriptions. Inhalers, nebulizers and eye-wash solution, as well as chronic medications and other resources needed to care for evacuees, were all shipped out to fire-impacted communities, including those in Ventura County.

Direct Relief maintains a standing inventory of fire-specific supplies, including several hundred thousand N-95 masks.

Beyond the threat from high temperatures, wildfires can exacerbate chronic health issues such as asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. For those with such conditions, fires deal a harsh combination of smoke, dust and other particulates in the air.

Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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