How to Help Those Hurt by the Bootleg Fire
Chances are, you already know this: southern Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is currently the nation’s largest wildfire, with more 400,000 acres burning and counting. Even with more than 90 fire departments from all over the country and 120 Oregon National Guardsmen responding, it’s still barely more than 50 percent contained. The fire began on July 6 and merged with the Log Fire on July 19 to become Oregon’s third largest wildfire since 1900—so large, in fact, it's creating it's own weather.
There are currently 86 large wildfires burning across the US, leaving over 1.5 million acres destroyed, but Oregon’s cover the largest area, with seven fires destroying over 540,000 acres all together.
The Bootleg Fire is massive and moves quickly, with hot, dry, and windy weather combined with drought conditions—all brought on by climate change—making the fire difficult to control.
More than 2,000 people in the surrounding areas are under some level of evacuation orders, with many more likely to be added as the fire burns on. Hundreds of homes have already been destroyed, and families are being uprooted at a moment’s notice. Luckily, there are many organizations answering the calls of those in need by providing shelter, food, and other basic needs, like showers and laundry.
Looking for ways to help? Here are places and organizations asking for donations:
Red Cross at the Klamath County Fairgrounds
3531 S 6th Street, Klamath Falls, 1(800)-733-2767
Though all Red Cross shelter sites are currently closed, volunteers remain on standby in Klamath County, and throughout the region, and will be available if conditions change. Red Cross recommends that if anyone needs immediate assistance due to the Bootleg Fire, to call 1-800-RED CROSS. You can make a donation here.
Project Spirit Horse Rescue
Call 541-891-2921, Text (831)-235-3031, Message on Facebook page
They rescue pets and livestock—more than 200 animals to date—in the path of the fire through emergency evacuations and temporary shelter. They need donations and emergency evacuation transport for livestock and pets.
The Gospel Mission and the Gospel Mission Thrift Store
1931 Mission Avenue, Klamath Falls, 541-882-4895
This Klamath Falls, faith-based mission offers basic services for evacuated people such as showers, laundry services, and beds. They need monetary donations and new and lightly used items (clothing, blankets, unperishable food, etc).
Community Emergency Response Team at the Klamath County Fairgrounds
3361 S 6th Street, 541-892-4914
Emergency first aid services are provided to evacuees here, as well as other services such as food, pet food, and toiletries. They are in need of small quantity containers of pet food, pet toys and treats, twin size top sheets, and toiletries.
Cascade Relief Team
This nonprofit provides essential items and resources to victims of natural disasters. They have a full list of donation asks at cascaderelief.org/needslist, with drop off locations in Beaverton, Portland, and Tigard. They take monetary donations to fill the gaps in their donations at cascaderelief.org/donate.
The Baptist Church on Homedale
3052 Homedale Road, Klamath Falls, 541-884-6603
This Klamath Falls church been working to provide two meals a day for those at the Red Cross fairgrounds location, and is looking for volunteers, food, and monetary donations.
Klamath-Lake Counties Food Bank
3231 Maywood Drive, Klamath Falls, 541-882-1223
This local food bank provides food and basic necessities for community members in need. They have already provided over 4,000 bounds of food for bootleg fire victims. They’re looking for canned food, toiletries, and monetary donations.
And for environmental concerns and wildfire prevention, check out:
This conservation management stalwart has operated for more than 30 years now, with a “climate-smart” approach to forest management. You can donate directly through their website.
Keep Oregon Green
An 80-year-old association with a focus on preventing human-caused wildfires through awareness and informational campaigns.
(If you know of any other organizations providing aid to those affected by the Bootleg Fire, please email [email protected] and [email protected] so we can add them to the list. For up-to-date information about the Bootleg Fire, follow @BootlegFireInfo on Twitter.)