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California Wildfires Affecting Older Americans

3 ways you can help those in need

Each morning we wake up to new images from Northern California that show the devastation wrought by the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history. Daylight brings us another view of entire neighborhoods burned to the ground. The intense wildfires have killed at least 41 people, many of them over 70. A couple in Napa County who were married 75 years were among the victims. In some cases, authorities have used dental records and serial numbers on hip implants to identify victims, according to CNN. As of Tuesday, nearly 100 people remain unaccounted for, more than 200,000 acres have burned, and about 6,000 structures have been destroyed.


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Fierce flames are not the only concern. Poor air quality forced about 140 veterans with severe respiratory problems to leave California’s largest veterans nursing home in Sonoma County last week. Also, at least 20 senior living facilities had to fully or partially evacuate.

California Wildfire Veteran Evacuations

Howard Yune/Zuma Press

Some veterans were loaded onto buses Oct. 10 and moved to safer areas as a wildfire move through Sonoma County.

For many, we can only watch, feeling helpless, from hundreds of miles away. But there are ways you can help those impacted. A few options include:

Sonoma County Resilience Fund: The group plans to use donations to address the mid- to long-term needs of Sonoma County after the devastating fires that have struck the community.

The American Red Cross: Its special disaster relief fund allows you to direct your donation toward California Wildfires.

GoFundMe: The fundraising website has set up a list of accounts they verified specifically for California Wildfire donations.

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