Our community is devastated. With a small county like ours, everyone knows someone who lost their home and all of their belongings. Most everyone felt an impact from the fires due to loss of power, cell coverage, and gas lines in the neighboring areas. Immediate relief remains critical as people figure out their next steps. Most people left with the clothes on their backs, experienced harrowing escapes due to the hilly, mountainous, rural back roads, and had almost no warning to plan their evacuations.
As of this morning, CalFire reported that the Redwood Fire was at 35,800 acres and 60% contained. 436 single family residences were destroyed, 245 minor structures destroyed, and 7 commercial structures damaged. There have been 8 civilian fatalities. All evacuation orders have been lifted and residents have begun returning home to assess the damage and start the process of figuring out how to move forward and recover from this disaster.
Many survivors don't have the resources to even cover their basic needs right now. Native Americans, immigrants and renters were disproportionately impacted, but we don't have many statistics yet. What I can tell you is the medium household income in Mendocino County is $42,980 with 20.3% living in poverty and 20.6% 65+ so many survivors may be uninsured or under-insured. Housing will be a major concern since Ukiah already has a 1% vacancy rate and people will need temporary housing so they can remain in the community. People will also need counseling and case management to weather this life experience.
At the Community Foundation, we are so thankful for the generosity of the community and for the many people who have stepped up to help out. As of this morning, $286,500 has been contributed to the
Disaster Fund for Mendocino County
. Last week, we provided grants to North Coast Opportunities (NCO) and Mendocino Coast Children's Fund to provide immediate relief in response to frequent calls from evacuees who went to the coast or remained locally with friends and family. In one day, NCO distributed 80 $100 cards to 72 households benefiting 233 people.
Reflecting on this experience, I am reminded how we are all so connected as a community. When the people we know experience loss in such deep ways - we all hurt. Recovery is a slow process as we all adjust to the new normal. I am grateful for the ways we come together and support each other when the unimaginable happens. We will continue to update you as we work with community organizations to respond in the weeks to come.