Just months after Northern California withstood the devastating effects of the Carr Fire, the state is once again battling massive wildfires consuming hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying countless homes and businesses, and displacing thousands of residents. The fires, which broke out last weekend, have officially been declared the most destructive in state history, wreaking immense damage spanning north to south.
In addition to rebuilding homes, businesses, power lines, water lines, sewers, roads, and lights, Californians will also have to reckon with the fire and smoke's impact on the state's many forms of agricultural production.
California is a powerhouse in producing much of our country's food supply, including dairy products, grapes, almonds, strawberries, beef, lettuce, walnuts, tomatoes, and pistachios, with the state's upwards of 77,500 farms producing nearly half of all U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables. While it's difficult to immediately quantify the full extent of the fires' damage, as they continue to ravage on, the impacts will likely be felt far and wide.
Fittingly, some of the country's most beloved food authorities are rolling up their sleeves and stepping up to volunteer their time and talents to feed those affected including victims and first responders. And it should come as no surprise that Guy Fieri is at the top of the list, surprising first responders of Butte County with homemade pulled pork and various sides, "filling [their] bellies and lifting [their] spirits."
This isn't the first time that Guy has shown up for his home state of California in the face of crisis. In October of last year, he set up a barbecue rig to feed wildfire evacuees, and just this summer volunteered with the Red Cross to feed victims of more fires in Northern California.
Fellow Food Network personality Tyler Florence also stepped up to the plate, volunteering as a Food First Responder, alongside the inimitable José Andrés who created the World Central Kitchen Organization in 2010 in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. By spearheading these relief efforts, Chef Andrés has gathered teams to feed thousands of communities in need all across the world.
Thank you @TylerFlorence and your amazing team Kerrie & @MattMasera for being part of @WCKitchen Food First Responders in Chico! This is what it’s all about... our community working side-by-side to serve those in need during these difficult times. #CampFire pic.twitter.com/yokgwsVQdW— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) November 12, 2018
Here's how you can help too.
The most effective way to help (from near or far) is by sending money. According to Los Angeles Magazine, the Los Angeles Fire Department asked the public to stop physically donating items "including personal care items, food and water," because they are logistically overwhelming and take time away from doing their jobs.
If you choose to send financial assistance, the Los Angeles Fire Department recommends donating to the American Red Cross. In addition, you can also send donations to the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund, Caring Choices, North Valley Community Foundation, Salvation Army, and the United Way branches of Greater Los Angeles and Northern California.
If food is your love language, consider donating to Jose Andrés' World Central Kitchen Organization which is currently deploying relief efforts for victims of the Camp Fire in Northern California and Woolsey Fire in Southern California, serving thousands of meals per day.