California Mayors, Cities Lend Personnel, Supplies to Battle Wildfires
November 3, 2003
California's deadly wildfires, causing massive property damage, resulted in an outpouring of support from cities throughout Southern California and the state.
Firefighting teams joined others battling the blazes and cities like Los Angeles lent hundreds of personnel to bolster besieged teams fighting the fires.
As U.S.MAYOR went to press, insurance losses approached $2-billion, and hundreds of homes have gone up in flames.
The costliest blazes in the state's history have resulted in unexpected expenditures by the state, cities and counties already suffering from dire financial straits.
In San Bernardino, Mayor Judith Valles, a Conference Trustee, saw an estimated 80,000 people evacuate the area. Also, press reports said that more than 244,000 San Bernardino County student's in public and private schools and community colleges missed classes last week because of the fire danger, poor air quality and loss of homes in the area. The San Bernardino International Airport used an old TWA hanger and converted it to a home for 400 evacuees.
In San Diego, Mayor Dick Murphy urged residents of the state's second largest city to stay indoors and to keep streets clear for emergency vehicles. The scheduled NFL "Monday Night Football" was moved to Arizona.
As fires continued to burn, massive relief efforts were underway by local governments, fund-raising efforts, and an outpouring of volunteer support to help feed, cloth and house thousands of displaced residents throughout the affected area.
President Bush's declaration of the area as a disaster means that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will reimburse local agencies for 75 percent of all under budgeted costs. Governor Gray Davis pledged that the state would pick up the other twenty-five percent.
Below are some California organizations with fire relief funds:
- American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund http://www.acrossla.org/ 1-800-HELP NOW, Monetary donations only
- Los Angeles Times Family Fund/KTLA-5 Charities Fire Relief Campaign. 800-284-5625, http://www.latimes.com/firerelief. For every dollar donated up to $1 million, the McCormick Tribune Foundation will donate an additional 50 cents. Donations and matching funds go directly to organizations, such as the Red Cross and other agencies, providing disaster relief to fire victims.
- FOODShare of Ventura County, 4156 N. Southbank St., Oxnard, CA 93030, 805-983-7100. Needs food donations and seeks volunteers to help prepare food for evacuees.
- Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Fire Disaster Aid, P.O. Box 15095, Los Angeles, CA 90015-0093, 213- 251-3498, http://www.catholicharitiesla.org
- Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Southern California Fire Emergency Relief Fund, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 323-761-8200, http://www.jewishla.org
- Salvation Army California Wildfires, 900 W. James M. Wood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015, http://www.salvationarmysocal.org. For in-kind donations, call 800-95TRUCK or http://www.satruck.com
- Community Foundation, 3880 Lemon St., Suite 300, Riverside, CA 92501, 909-684-4194. Accepting monetary donations for victims in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
- Fire Relief Fund, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 210 N. Avenue 21, Los Angeles, CA 90031, (323) 226-1762 or 323-855-0320. Seeking monetary and in-kind donations.