Below is information related to the Wine Country fires, including air quality advisories and how to help. We will update this as new information comes in. If you have information to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Where to donate items locally
Seaport Storage at 1703 E Bayshore Rd, Redwood City will take the following items that have been requested by shelters in the Wine Country.
Seaport Storage Manager Justin Wethington says these items can be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
● Water - major need
● Gatorade - people are dehydrated from smoke in the air
● Masks - preferably clean air circulating (N-95) masks, but basic clinical masks are effective in that they prevent debris from being breathed in - major need
● Dog and cat food - major need
● Cots - hundreds are needed
● Hygiene products for males and females -- shavers, soap, tooth brush, tooth paste, etc
● Diapers - for infants, toddlers and the elderly
● Food - MRE’s, canned food, food easy to pack and prepare
● Clothes - Only new clothes are being accepted. Need socks, undergarments for men, women and children.
● Baby formula
● Coffee -- K cups and ground coffee
● Pet beds and toys
● Fire extinguishers
● Flash lights
Among those contributing items to the Seaport Storage drive are students and families from Laurel School's Upper and Lower campuses in Menlo Park and Atherton.
The students held a drive on Thursday and Friday at school drop off and pick up times.
The storage facility also needs volunteers to help sort the donations that will be picked up by the shelters.
Air quality advisory updated
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued health advisories due to heavy smoke from the North Bay fires.
Friday's air quality is forecast to be better than it was on Thursday, but still in the unhealthy range. It is expected to improve further over the weekend but still be in the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range the district's website says.
"Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion," when the air quality in the unhealthy range, the district says.
Visit the district's website for more information and air quality updates.
"Very unhealthy air quality from the wildfires in the North Bay is causing unprecedented levels of air pollution throughout the Bay Area," the air quality district said in a press release. "Due to active wildfires and changing wind patterns, air quality could be impacted for many days to come. Outside of the active fire areas, air quality will be variable and unpredictable. Air quality may improve at times or get worse, very quickly."
Current air quality conditions by zipcode can be found online on a federal Environmental Protection Agency website.
AYSO soccer games are cancelled
All AYSO soocer games in Region 25, Woodside and Portola Valley and Region 109, Menlo Park and Atherton. The U16/U19 Madison League has also cancelled its games.
Menlo-Atherton students' fundraiser
Menlo-Atherton High School seniors and Menlo Park residents Maria Ornes and Katherine Steere have started a GoFundMe drive after finding out many teachers and students had friends and family affected by the fires.
"We will be using the funds to buy supplies that local organizations have specified as a priority as well as working with the Red Cross and local churches to distribute the supplies," Ms. Ornes said.
Former longtime Woodside residents Judy and Frank Gage were forced to evacuate from their home in Santa Rosa, along with their two horses and other animals, due to the fire.
While the Gages and Judy's mother escaped unharmed, they later learned their barn and guest cottage had been destroyed, former neighbors say. Their home had been spared.
Friends at the Webb Ranch have taken in the Gage's horses until they can return home.
Judy Gage grew up in Woodside and moved to Santa Rosa about 15 years ago.
Members of WHOA! (Woodside Horse Owners Association) are raising money and collecting new and "gently used" horse equipment to help equestrian victims of the Santa Rosa fire.
They have set up the "Fire Relief Fund for Horses and Livestock" with the Woodside Community Foundation, which is offering to match donations up to a total of $2,500. Donations may be made online.
Donations of horse equipment – including buckets, halters, lead ropes, supplements and medical supplies – can go to the Mounted Patrol grounds, 521 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside.
The Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County's foundation on Friday is sending more than 250 bales of hay to the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association where 200 horses are being held. People wishing to contribute can send donations to the Mounted Patrol Foundation, 521 Kings Mountain Road.
The Woodside Community Foundation is sending two trucks of hay to Santa Rosa and Solano counties.
For more information on other ways to help horses and livestock visit WHOA!'s website.
The Horse Park at Woodside is offering to board evacuated horses. They ask those who need boarding to call their main office at (650) 851-2140 to arrange stabling and estimated arrival times.
Fundraiser for firefighters who lost homes
The International Association of Fire Fighters, the fire fighters union, is raising money to help union members who have lost their homes in the California fires.
By Thursday, Oct. 12, the union had confirmed that 23 members had lost their homes. The number is expected to rise as many have not yet been able to check the status of their homes.
Former Woodsiders lose home
Vicky and Dan Pardini, who lived in Woodside and then Redwood City until 2015, lost their home and barn in Redwood Valley to the Redwood Complex fire in Mendocino County. By mid-day Wednesday, Oct. 11, that fire had burned 29,500 acres and was only 5 percent contained.
The Pardinis' son Stavros said on the GoFundMe page he created for his parents that "our family built this log cabin from scratch off the grid with our bare hands on weekends and whatever free time we had."
Another Pardini son, Danny, who is a graduate of Serra High School and Woodside Elementary, and his wife and four children also lost their home and belongings. They have a GoFundMe page as well.
Stavros and his family have also been evacuated from their home.
The Pardinis report that even though they had only 15 minutes of warning, they were able to get out with all their animals safely.
Vicky Pardini says the family members would probably all be dead had not a friend called at 1:30 a.m. and warned them the fire was racing up their hill.
"We didn't smell it, we were asleep," she said.
Only two homes in their neighborhood remain unburned, she said.
For now, the extended family of 15 is staying at the Campovida winery in the Mendocino County town of Hopland, where their daughter-in-law works.
The Pardini family lived in Woodside from 1987 to 1997 and then moved to Redwood City. They owned Pardini's Auto Body.
Football games canceled
The Peninsula Athletic League has canceled this weekend's football games due to the unhealthy air.
With the ending of the Central Coast Section regular season taking place a week before the state playoffs begin, there is a possibility that this week's games -- Week 7 of the regular season -- will be moved to Week 11, the week after the PAL's traditional rivalry games.
Games involving local teams that were scheduled to be played this weekend include Aragon at Menlo-Atherton, Menlo School at Sequoia, South San Francisco at Woodside and Half Moon Bay at Sacred Heart Prep.
The Burgess and Belle Haven pools will remain closed on Friday.
Schools restrict outdoor activities
Many schools are restricting outdoor activities.
Menlo-Atherton High School announced it's canceling all outdoor athletic activities for the remainder of the week.
In the Sequoia Union High School District, which includes Menlo-Atherton and Woodside high schools, Superintendent Mary Streshly said the schools would implement their "shelter in place" protocols.
In an email to parents Superintendent Streshly said students will remain indoors throughout the day – except for switching classrooms, going to the restroom, and picking up lunch – and building ventilation systems will be set to not pull in air from outside. There will be no outdoor PE or organized practices and organized athletics may be cancelled.
High fire danger locally through Sunday
San Mateo County has issued a high level "Red Flag Warning" alert for high fire danger locally from Thursday through Sunday evening.
"Low humidity and gusty northerly winds will combine with dry fuels to produce critical fire weather conditions" especially at higher elevations, the alert says.
They urge "extreme caution when conducting any type of outside construction activity that may have an ignition source" and ask residents to monitor any contractors working on their property.
Weed whacking, machinery use in dry areas, outside welding and hot roofing projects should all be postponed, they say.
For those who live in areas that may be prone to wildfires, here are resources.
• The Red Cross has advice on preparing for a wildfire.
• The National Fire Situational Awareness website has a map of current fires.
• Be sure you are signed up for the San Mateo County alert system.
How to help
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has a list of ways to help in all the affected counties.
Think about what you donate
As local residents look for ways to help those affected by the fires in Wine County, we share some information about donations of goods from the American Red Cross.
In any disaster, the human impulse is to try to help, and people very often do this by collecting things they think others affected by the disaster might need.
But these collections often overwhelm those trying to assist the people who were affected by the disaster as they try to sort, transport, store and fairly distribute the donations.
The Red Cross suggests donations of money, so those affected by the disaster can get exactly what they need, and rebuild their local economy with their purchases.
Gift cards are also useful.
Here is the Red Cross policy about what they call "in kind" donations:
"Unfortunately, due to logistical constraints the Red Cross does not accept or solicit individual donations or collections of items. Items such as collected food, used clothing and shoes must be sorted, cleaned, repackaged and transported, which impedes the valuable resources of money, time, and personnel.
The Red Cross does accept bulk quantities of product and services when these items meet our service delivery needs. These donations typically come from manufacturers, suppliers, and/or distributors that can package the items in bulk, palletize them and transport them directly to Red Cross sites.
Financial contributions allow the Red Cross to purchase exactly what is needed for a disaster relief operation. Monetary donations also enable the Red Cross to purchase relief supplies close to the disaster site which avoids delays and transportation costs in getting basic necessities to disaster victims. Because the affected community has generally experienced significant economic loss, purchasing relief supplies in or close to the disaster site also helps to stimulate the weakened local economy."
The Red Cross has a group of volunteers who work with businesses to get truckloads of donations from large corporations. They also purchase needed items for the people they are helping from local businesses so the logistical problems are eliminated.
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