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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 10:40 am | Partly Cloudy 59º

 
 
 
 
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Local Organizations Mobilizing to Aid Wildfire Victims

With the fires across California waning, local nonprofits look to help those who have health problems or have been displaced from their homes.

The Ranch Fire just west of Castaic is almost fully contained, taking out only about 58,000 acres of forest.

Others aren’t so lucky. Flames continue to rage throughout California, particularly in the San Diego area where 350,000 acres have burned, including homes and commercial properties.

And aside from the immediate threat of fire, people living in areas affected by the flames now have to cope with the poor air quality caused by the smoke and ash, said Thomas Tighe, president and CEO of Goleta-based aid organization Direct Relief International . Most of Direct Relief’s efforts have been to supply local residents and emergency personnel with material to help people with medical problems associated with the fires.  The organization has distributed more than 40,000 masks to local residents and emergency services personnel.

Meanwhile, Nourish America,  a charity out of Ojai, is bringing nutritional care to the victims and firefighters by working in conjunction with the Red Cross to distribute protein bars, multivitamins and other nutritional items.

Local parent-friendly nonprofit SBParent.com has also kicked in with aid effort. SBParent’s “Pajama Party ” aims to contribute sleepwear to the families displaced by the fires.

The fires, which ranged last week from as far north as the Sedgwick Reserve south to San Diego, have destroyed about 2,000 homes and displaced more than a million people. Seven people have died as a direct result of the fire, and the flames have burned at least half a million acres.

Federal response to the disasters came quickly last week, as President Bush on Wednesday declared a Major Disaster Declaration in response to bipartisan support for the request for the declaration by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

“I am pleased that this much needed federal relief is coming quickly to the aid of the families and communities that have lost so much in these devastating fires,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps. “We continue to pray for the safety of our brave firefighters in harm’s way and hope that these fires will soon be contained without further loss of life or property.” President Bush visited the devastated areas on Thursday.

The Santa Ana winds have died down and showers sprinkled parts of California over the weekend lending a little help to the firefighters who continue to battle the blaze.

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