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$2.5 Million Raised So Far by United Way for Victims of Thomas Fire

People have given more than $2.5 million to help individuals and families affected by the Thomas Fire.

The United Way of Santa Barbara County is joining forces with the United Way of Ventura County to create a dual fund that directly supports the fire victims.

The blaze has destroyed 1009 structures, damaged 227 and is threatening 18,000 more. More than 95,000 residents have evacuated their homes in both counties.

The fire had burned an estimated 256,000 acres and was 35 percent contained Friday night.

“The financial and emotional costs of the loss of homes and businesses in Ventura County, including Ojai, is immense and difficult to comprehend,” said Eric Harrison, CEO, United Way of Ventura County. “We will do all we can to ensure a solid path to recovery for our residents.”

After the wildfire is contained, a committee of representatives from community- and faith-based organizations will assess the needs and allocate money from the fund in Ventura, according to a news release.

In Santa Barbara County, United Way of Santa Barbara County will coordinate with the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Santa Barbara County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to determine the most appropriate member organizations and individuals to receive funding.

“While Santa Barbara County is fortunate in that it has not yet lost a vast number of structures, the level of stress and financial toll for thousands of evacuees will be great and includes missed work for residents, relocation costs, food, clothing property damage, childcare and health care,” said Steve Ortiz, president & CEO, United Way of Santa Barbara County..

Donations can be made by texting UWVC to 41444, online at, or or by calling 805.485.6288.

Checks may be sent to the United Way office at 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003. Please write “Thomas Fire Fund” in the memo.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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