Resources for Victims of Wildfires
Wildfires continue to be a risk in California. Here are some important links that can help you during and immediately after a wildfire. Click on the links for information. If there is anything we can do to help, please contact the closest district office to you. We will update this section as needed to address specific emergencies.
If you are a victim of a wildfire, it can be an extremely stressful time, even months after. If you find yourself overwhelmed and experiencing anxiety or depression, please reach out for help. See our section on Counseling/Mental Health Support below. And if you believe you are having a mental health emergency, call 911.
Take care and be safe, Assemblymember Jim Wood
Santa Rosa (707) 576-2526
Ukiah (707) 463-5770
Eureka (707) 445-7014
Table of Contents
- Fire Summary
- Banking Issues
- Communication Tools
- Community Information
- Counseling/Mental Health Support
- County and City Information
- Debris and Ash Removal
- Drinking Water Safety
- Electricity and Gas
- Federal Assistance
- Food Assistance
- Fraud Protection
- Insurance Coverage
- Lost Documents
- Medical Care
- Pet Relocation
- Price Gouging
- Property Tax Relief
- Road Conditions
- Search for Family & Friends
- Small Business Assistance
- Temporary Housing
- Unemployment Assistance
Fire Summary--The Cal Fire site lists major fires and provides containment information, evacuation orders and more. You can also check your local city and county websites (listed below). Cal Fire Statewide Information on Fire Incidents
Banking Issues--If you have been affected by a wildfire, reach out to your bank when you can. That’s because banks often offer leniency for those who’ve had their lives upended by natural disasters, including waiving late fees, out-of-network ATM fees and creating repayment arrangements on credit cards and loans. Consider downloading your bank's secure Mobile App so that you can use online banking.
Communication Tools--WhatsApp is a phone app that provides secure messaging and calling for free (data charges may apply) and it’s available on phones all over the world.
Community Information--Nixle is a Community Information Service that helps you stay connected to the information that matters most, depending on your physical location. You can stay connected to your local police department, schools and local community agencies and organizations by only providing your zip code. What is Nixle?
Counseling/Mental Health Support--During and after a wildfire can be an extremely stressful time, so please reach out for help if you or someone you know are experiencing anxiety or depression. Here are some resources. You can also call one of our district offices for additional resources.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 (toll free)
Humboldt County: 707-445-7715, 888-849-5728 (toll free)
Mendocino County: 24/7 Crisis Services: (855) 838-0404; Access Services (800) 555-5906 (toll free)
Sonoma County: 24/7 Crisis Services (707) 576-8181; 24-hr Access Services (800) 870-8786 (toll free); Suicide Prevention Hotline of Sonoma County: (855) 587-6373 (toll free)
Del Norte County: 24/7 Crisis Services (888) 446-4408 (toll free)
Trinity County: 24/7 Crisis Services: (530) 623-5708; (888) 624-5820 (toll free)
Debris and Ash Removal--Authorities warn the public not to remove debris and ash from their homes or burn sites; hazardous materials are present. Under the state program, administered by CalRecycle and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, property owners incur no direct costs for participation.
Drinking Water Safety--Wildfires can compromise water quality both during active burning, and for months and years after the fire has been contained. During active burning, ash can settle on lakes and reservoirs used for drinking water supplies. Contact your local county or water provider to find out more information on the safety of your water supply.
Electricity and Gas--PG&E has information on power and gas outages and in 2019, they established new procedures for powering down neighborhoods at risk for wildfire during certain weather conditions. Visit their website for more information so that you can become familiar with what to do before, during and after a wildfire. And make sure they have your contact information, so you can be notified whenever they do shut off power.
Federal Assistance--Funds from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may be available to help individuals rebuild, repair and replace housing and other personal property not covered by insurance. Individuals who are impacted by the fires should apply for FEMA assistance. You can apply in the following ways:
- Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or www.disasterassistance.gov/es (in Spanish)
- You may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
- Visit a Local Assistance Center
Food Assistance--If you need assistance obtaining food after a disaster, your local county or city should have information. You may be able to obtain financial assistance through California's SNAP program if a disaster is declared.
Fraud Protection--The National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Justice and various law enforcement and regulatory agencies to form a national coordinating agency within the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to improve and further the detection, prevention, investigation, and prosecution of fraud related to natural and man-made disasters, and to advocate for the victims of such fraud. https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud
Insurance Coverage--The Department of Insurance provides information to remind renters and homeowners policy holders about evacuation relocation coverage they may have. DOI Reminds Policyholders about Evacuation Coverage
The Insurance Information Institute provides two links you may also find useful in the claims process:
We also have a list of many insurance companies' contact telephone numbers if you are unsure how to reach your insurance company. Please call one of our district offices for information.
Lost Documents Replacement--If you’ve lost important documents or identification in the fires, many can be replaced. You can learn more about how to replace these common documents by contacting them directly:
California Driver’s License: 800-777-0133; Visit a California DMV office to complete an application. Replacement license forms must be delivered in person.
Green cards: 800-375-5283; www.uscis.gov
Medicare cards: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778; www.ssa.gov/medicare
Military records: 866-272-6272; www.archives.gov/contact/
Passport: 877-487-2778; 888-874-7793 (TTY); https://www.travel.state.gov
Social Security card: 800-772-1213; (TTY) 800-325-0778; www.ssa.gov
U.S. Savings Bonds: 844-284-2676; www.treasurydirect.gov
U.S. tax returns: 800-829-1040; www.irs.gov
Medications--During declared disasters, pharmacies are authorized to refill prescriptions without renewed contact with your physician. For new health needs, we encourage people to contact their primary care provider. Help with Medications
Pet Relocation--Many organizations and individuals have offered assistance during past emergencies to help keep displaced pets fed, hydrated, housed and comfortable. We will update this section as needed.
Price Gouging--The Attorney General of California has information on price gouging, how to prevent it or how to report it. It is a misdemeanor for a landlord to increase the monthly rental price for residential housing to an existing or prospective tenant by more than 10 percent of the “pre-disaster fair market price.” Under certain circumstances, it can be a misdemeanor to evict a housing tenant during the same time period.
Property Tax Relief--The Board of Equalization provides information on when and how you can obtain property tax relief when your home if affected by a disaster. Property Tax Relief
Road Conditions--California Department of Transportation provides current highway and road conditions. DOT Road Information.
Search for Family & Friends--Red Cross has a site where you can let family and friends know that you are safe and you can also look for loved ones who you have lost communication with. It's called Safe & Well. Safe & Well Registration Site
Small Business Assistance—Small Business Administration (SBA) loans may also be available to individuals and businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, inventory and supplies. After registering with FEMA, businesses and homeowners that would like to apply for SBA loans can do so online at: Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance
Telecommunications--We recommend using text to communicate whenever possible. Because cell towers may be damaged by wildfires, more people will tap into fewer towers. Text requires less "energy" than cell calls. Telecom companies will wait for permission to go into damaged areas to install temporary towers.
Temporary Housing--We will update this section as needed. For 30 days after a disaster/emergency is declared, it is unlawful for a person to sell or offer a hotel room for a price more than 10 percent above the price charged immediately prior to the declaration. (California Penal Code 396). It is also unlawful for a landlord to
Unemployment Assistance--Employment Development Department has information on how to apply for unemployment during a disaster. Disaster Unemployment Assistance Information