As we face wildfires and smoke threats – and sadly with many of our communities already ravaged by wildfires – I want to remind you to be ready to evacuate if the order is given and ensure your staff and volunteers are ready as well. Keep them and your nonprofits as safe and ready as possible! Most importantly – Stay Calm. Your family, team, and the community needs your leadership now more than ever. I know that this is going to be tough on the heels of the months of COVID-19 stress, but try to fight the urge to give into this additional stressor. You can do this!
Here are some helpful steps and resources to use and stay updated:
The State of Oregon Wildfire Resources page is the official state site for all resources related to the wildfires in Oregon. It contains updates on firefighting efforts, evacuation maps, and alerts.
Oregon Office of Emergency Management volunteer management and donation page: https://oregonrecovers.communityos.org/
Many roads may be closed due to the fires and conditions can change rapidly. If you can, stay home; if you must travel, please check Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck for the latest conditions before you go anywhere.
Keep track of wildfires near you. Sign up for emergency notifications. Most counties in Oregon have a network that you can sign up to receive alerts in case you need to evacuate. The Oregon Federal Executive Board has a complete listing of notification sign-ups by county. OregonLive has a good explanation of how to receive emergency government alerts for your area on your cell phone.
The Red Cross has a listing of shelters across the state for people displaced by the fires. These are updated regularly as needs change.
211 Info can connect community members with needed resources.
Project Wildfire has great tips on preparing for an evacuation and other resources.
You can also track Oregon Smoke Information updates via an interactive map with the locations of current fires and the latest information about air quality advisories.
White Bird in Eugene is maintaining a great resource list for individual community members impacted by the Holiday Farm fire.
Have an established phone tree within your organization to keep each other aware of changes in your team’s situation. Because so many of us are working from home we may not be in direct communication as frequently. Be sure to check in with all team members once a day to see if anything has changed for them. Make sure everyone understands to prioritize getting to safety if an evacuation order is called, but once in a safe location, to alert your organization on the changes in their status and location.
The Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ORVOAD) has a set of valuable resources for responding organizations. They also hold calls for coordination of response efforts across government and responding NPOs and CBOs.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has decades of experience in supporting the stewardship of donations received in disasters and for recovery. You can download their complete Disaster Playbook full of resources and tools here: https://disasterplaybook.org/resources/
Various county and regional COADs and community builders have set up resource pages, many of them using the Supporting Resilient Communities Inc. system. These pages are designed to coordinate response efforts, avoid duplications, and share information.
Resource Flyer for Fire Evacuees in Lane County
At the request of the Governor, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Oregon Community Foundation have jointly created the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund with a goal of gathering resources and to plan for what comes next after the extraordinary devastation brought by wildfires across a state already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequences of racial injustice.
The United Ways across the state have set up Wildfire Relief Funds and are working to coordinate with partner organizations in their regions. Here are the United Ways that we know are responding: Douglas County, Jackson County, Lane County, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, Mid-Valley (Salem); Linn, Benton and Lincoln Counties and United Way of Southwestern Oregon. Let us know if there are others we should add to this list by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MRG Foundation continues to fund organizations and efforts that are focused on BIPOC, Immigrant, Tribal communities, and social/racial justice organizations. MRG Foundation has set up the Rogue Valley Relief Fund.
CAUSA of Oregon has set up a wildfire relief fund to purchase emergency supplies for immigrant Oregonians who have been evacuated or lost their homes due to the wildfires.