Direct Relief Steps into Fire Effort

Woolsey Fire

Face masks are again being sent out from Direct Relief’s Goleta warehouse to Northern and Southern California areas afflicted with this fall’s set of deadly wildfires. More than 20,000 N-95 masks, 20 oxygen concentrators, respiratory medicines, and hygiene supplies were sent to Butte, California, said spokesperson Tony Morain, all of which are part of the nonprofit’s standard fire medical-supply kit. Another 40,000 masks were sent to Ventura and Los Angeles counties on Monday.

Though Ventura County’s Hill Fire is 80 percent contained at about 4,500 acres and the zone-wide evacuation notices canceled, the Woolsey Fire continues to consume more than 91,000 acres from Thousand Oaks to Malibu. Most Woolsey Fire evacuations remain in place, including all of Malibu. Two deaths have been confirmed, and three firefighter injuries. More than 3,000 engine crewmembers, hand crews, dozer operators, and pilots are on the front lines. The weather is not cooperating, with Santa Ana winds forecast from L.A. County to the Mexican border Tuesday through Wednesday. The 101 highway is open, but the Pacific Coast Highway remains closed.

The death toll from Northern California’s Camp Fire rose to more than 40 souls on Monday afternoon, the worst casualty count since 1933’s Griffith Fire. Camp has destroyed more than 7,000 structures across 113,000 acres. CalFire called it only 25 percent contained on Monday morning. Like Hill and Woolsey, the Camp Fire erupted on Thursday, November 8 amid strong winds, but at sunrise near Pulga, a small town in the Plumas National Forest. It decimated the nearby town of Paradise, where many of the bodies are being discovered. Multiple media reports state PG&E had “problems” with a high-voltage line at the time the fire began.

The president found the fires worth criticizing, tweeting on Saturday: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” Representative Ted Lieu, of Congressional District 33 for coastal Los Angeles County, tweeted back: “Oh, and guess who owns much of the forest land in CA? Your federal agencies. CA only owns 2%. Guess who cut funding to forest management in the budget? YOU DID,” according to E&E Greenwire.

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