News publications and other organizations are encouraged to reuse Direct Relief-published content for free under a Creative Commons License (Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 International), given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

When republishing:

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Republishing Images:

Unless stated otherwise, images shot by Direct Relief may be republished for non-commercial purposes with proper attribution, given the republisher complies with the requirements identified below.

  • Maintain correct caption information.
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Direct Relief often contracts with freelance photographers who usually, but not always, allow their work to be published by Direct Relief’s media partners. Contact Direct Relief for permission to use images in which Direct Relief is not credited in the caption by clicking here.

Other Requirements:

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For any additional questions about republishing Direct Relief content, please email the team here.

Butte County, Home to Paradise, Faces a New Wildfire Threat 


California Wildfires

The Thompson Fire has forced 28,000 people to flee their homes in Butte County, California. (Photo courtesy of CAL Fire Butte County)

Over 28,000 residents are under evacuation orders due to an uncontained wildfire in Butte County, California. The Thompson Fire, which broke out on the morning of July 2, has thus far incinerated over 3,000 acres of Butte County near the City of Oroville. Its flames threaten more than 12,000 structures, including homes and healthcare facilities. 

In the 24 hours since the Thompson Fire erupted, over 1,400 fire personnel have been deployed to the area. However, heavy winds have made firefighting efforts strenuous, and the wildfire is currently 0% contained. These winds have carried plumes of smoke south towards the nearby city of Sacramento, threatening the region’s air quality. On Wednesday, Governor Newsom declared a state of emergency, with the Thompson Fire being the largest of 17 fires currently burning in California.  

Direct Relief in contact with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to offer support, and extended offers of medical aid to community health centers, clinics, and other healthcare providers within 50 miles of the fire. The organization has also been in touch with national, state, and regional health centers and free and charitable clinic associations. 

A full picture of medical needs will most likely emerge in the days and weeks following. Wildfires frequently cause respiratory and ocular problems and can complicate conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Patients who evacuate without lifesaving medications and devices are at risk of experiencing a rapid decline in health. Infectious diseases like norovirus are a risk when displaced people shelter in close quarters. And in the wake of a traumatic event, mental health needs can dramatically increase.  

The Thompson Fire in Butte County, California. (Photo courtesy of CAL Fire Butte County)

This area is painfully familiar with the devastation of wildfires. In 2018, the Camp Fire destroyed most of the Butte County town Paradise, killing 85 people and scorching over 153,000 acres. The Camp Fire was the world’s costliest natural disaster in 2018, and medical needs in its aftermath included chronic disease care, mental health interventions, and at-home checks for residents unable to seek medical help. Water supplies became contaminated, and many of the people displaced by the fire struggled to find housing. 

Over the past six years, the town has worked toward recovery and developed resilience measures designed to reduce fire risk in the face of climate change. Direct Relief has provided medications and supplies, extensive grant funding, and other support in response to the Camp Fire.

However, the recovery process was halted in 2021, when the Dixie Fire leveled Butte County’s Feather River Canyon. The Dixie Fire, which burned for 104 days, was the second-largest fire in California’s history. One person died and over 700 homes were demolished as the fire burned over 963,000 acres. Direct Relief provided multifaceted medical support following the fire’s devastation.  

The eruption of the Thompson Fire yesterday highlights the continuing vulnerability that this part of Northern California currently faces. Increasingly scorching temperatures, as high as 115 degrees in some cases, and dry wind gusts are battering the area, putting the Sacramento Valley and parts of the Bay Area under red flag warnings. Throughout California, wildfires are becoming a year-round threat. 

To meet immediate medical needs, Direct Relief maintains caches of the medications and supplies commonly requested during and after a wildfire, including inhalers, chronic disease medications, eye drops, wound care, N95 masks, and other medical essentials. The organization also works closely with partners to improve medical resilience in vulnerable communities located in wildfire-prone areas. 

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