How to Help Woolsey Fire First Responders (and How Not To)

The Los Angeles Fire Department took to Facebook with a plea

As of 7:30 Monday morning, the Woolsey Fire had burned 91,000 acres, destroyed an estimated 370 structures (with 57,000 more threatened), and was only 20 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

Southern Californians have been eager to help fire victims as well as the people on the front lines fighting the blaze, but some of those efforts have proven to be misguided. In an announcement posted to Facebook on Sunday evening, the Los Angeles Fire Department asked the public to stop physically donating items.

“[T]he physical donation of donated goods, including personal care items, food and water on the fireline, at command posts or neighborhood fire stations is thankfully NOT needed or desired at this time!” the post (embedded in its entirety below) says. “Sadly, we’re not only emotionally overwhelmed with your profound kindness during the Woolsey Fire, but logistically as well. To the point that the well-meaning donation of physical goods to firefighters is at the brink of causing harm.”

Anticipating that people would still be searching for ways to help, the department suggested a few nonprofits that are accepting donations for firefighters: Support the LAFD, which has organized a campaign to purchase hydration backpacks for firefighters via the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation; Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund, a charity that helps the families of firefighters injured or killed in duty; and the Fire Family Foundation, the charitable arm of the Firefighters First Credit Union.

Want to help the victims of the fire? The LAFD recommends donating to the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. Likewise, that organization has asked people to avoid dropping physical donations at shelters in L.A. and Ventura counties.

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