Over the past several days, many of us at American Farmland Trust have watched with sadness as over 150,000 acres across California have been ravaged by wind-driven wildfires. Currently, fires continue to grow in northern California wine country, as well as in communities to the north and east. Southern California is dealing with its own group of fires centered east of downtown Los Angeles.
These fires are hitting our farmer friends and neighbors particularly hard. Hundreds of farmers, ranchers and critical agricultural service businesses across the state have lost everything.
It will take weeks to truly understand the economic impact of the wildfires on California’s agriculture industry, but it will be substantive.
In Sonoma County alone, farms house 30,000 dairy cows and 35,000 sheep and goats. The value of the county’s agriculture is close to $900 million, with livestock and poultry accounting for $178 million and about $10 million from vegetable farms.
As crises often do, the wildfires are bringing out the best of what America has to offer. Many of you have reached out to us and asked how you can help those affected. Here’s a list of options that we’ll continue to update as new opportunities arise.
Animal lover? KQED has a list of how you can help animals, including farm animals, affected by the wildfires in northern California.
Firefighters across the region have continued to battle the blazes even as their own homes have been lost. Help the firefighters fighting to save our communities with these resources from the California Fire Foundation.
Donate to the Red Cross. There are specific options for giving directly to the organization’s fires fund or to your nearest local Red Cross.
Open your home to fire victims through AirBnB’s Open Homes program.
Facebook has created exclusive Crisis Response Centers for three of the fires: the Sulphur Fire, the Tubbs Fire and the Atlas Fire. If you want to volunteer to help, you can let the community of the Crisis Response Center know.
The Community Alliance with Family Farmers and The Farmers Guild are co-hosting a Fire Benefit at the Sebastopol Grange on October 12th at 5pm. 100% of funds from tickets sold will go to benefit fire victims, including local farmers.
Thousands of miles of wire fence have been destroyed by the wildfires. Ag Community Relief is collecting donations to send new fencing to farmers and ranchers affected.
Farmers and ranchers impacted by the fires can call the Farm Aid hotline for assistance at 1-800-FARMAID.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to volunteer/donate goods, please reference this local guide of current needs.
Stay strong, California. We’re with you.