Firefighters began battling multiple wildfires on October 8 in numerous counties across the entire state, prompting mass evacuations. Thousands of acres burned and threatened infrastructure as strong winds fueled the fast-moving fires, primarily in Northern California. The wildfires burned more than 245,000 acres, destroyed 8,900 structures and were responsible for 43 deaths.
Massive Fire Response and Recovery Efforts
Resources poured in to California to assist firefighting crews as they battled multiple fires throughout the state. There were more than 11,000 firefighters and nearly 500 law enforcement personnel working the deadly fires. Suppression efforts included more than 1,000 fire engines, 30 air tankers and 73 helicopters, with an additional 177 fire engines from out-of-state mutual aid.
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) coordinated the placement of evacuees in dozens of shelters across the region, while also distributing more than 40,000 meals, 60,000 liters of water, 2,000 ADA compliance cots and 12,000 blankets and sheets.
The California National Guard supported of the firefighting efforts with more than 2,000 soldiers and airmen deployed, including a 500-person infantry from Southern California. Cal Guard and the Nevada National Guard were heavily involved in the air suppression efforts with 23 aircraft offering support via firefighting, damage assessment, fire mapping and transportation. Aircraft dropped more than 800,000 gallons of water/retardant. In addition, Cal Guard also coordinated bringing in additional resources from Oregon and Nevada.
On October 9, the State Operations Center activated to support emergency management coordination and mutual aid requests for the communities of Yuba, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Butte, Nevada, and Solano who were impacted by the Northern California wildfires.
The Inland, Coastal and Southern Regional Operations Centers also activated to support impacted communities.
Cal Guard mobilized to support disaster response and/or relief efforts. To assist local governments and for the protection of public health and the environment, state agencies shall enter into contracts to arrange for the procurement of materials, goods, and services necessary to quickly assist with the response to and recovery from the impacts of these fires. Applicable provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code, including but not limited to travel, advertising, and competitive bidding requirements, are suspended to the extent necessary to address the effects of the fires.
Understanding Individual Assistance and Public Assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency may provide two types of assistance, following natural disasters with a presidential disaster declaration: Individual Assistance and Public Assistance. Understanding Individual Assistance and Public Assistance – En Español
After the Fire: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures
When evacuating, never risk your personal safety to save belongings. When returning after a fire, wear protective clothing and eyewear to handle items. Hazardous particles may still be in the air and structures will likely be unstable. FEMA has additional tips and resources to salvage personal items that have survived fires.
National Wildfire Coordinating Group Map
Check fire conditions where you live
How Does This Wildfire Season Compare?
California has endured some of the worst wildfires in United States history. Find out from CAL FIRE how this wildfire disaster compares to other major incidents.
California Wildfires Create New Danger: Hazardous Debris
Statewide wildfires that scarred communities across Northern and Southern California now pose a new threat. As changing weather patterns and tireless work of more than 11,000 firefighters boost containment lines, communities devastated by the fires face potential health risks associated with the improper handling of fire debris.
Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Help Cut Red Tape, Expedite Recovery Efforts in Communities Impacted by Wildfires
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline recovery efforts in communities impacted by the devastating wildfires that have burned across California over the past ten days.
State Health Officer Urges Caution During Wildfire Cleanup
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today advised residents of recently burned areas to use caution in cleaning up ash from recent wildfires. (en español)
- Disaster Recovery Center Opens in Yuba County- Español
- Sonoma County Residents May Register for Disaster Assistance – Español
- Napa County Residents May Register for Disaster Assistance – Español
- State FEMA Disaster Recovery Center Open in Sonoma County – Español
Wildfire Recovery Resources and Information for Immigrants
The California Immigrant Guide website has wildfire recovery resources and information from the California Department of Social Services, Employment Development Department, Cal/OSHA, California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Department of Public Health, California Department of Insurance, California State Bar and more.
Find Immigration Services programs and funding initiatives necessary to support legal services, outreach, community education, and other immigrant integration efforts