This year, we've seen wildfires cause devastation in locations around the globe including Australia, the Arctic Circle, the Amazon and the United States. In California, wildfires have burned over 1.4 million acres so far this year. Comparatively, at this time in 2019, only 56,000 acres had burned.
Rising global temperatures make for longer Spring and Summer seasons, melting snow more quickly and drying out soil, creating kindling that spreads wildfires more rapidly. High winds combined with the dry climate has resulted in evacuations and destruction all across the West. As fires burn, they emit dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, threatening the health of people and the planet. Taking action is crucial.
As wildfires become more frequent, it's more important than ever to take action to protect our forested communities. Below you'll find nonprofits working on both short and long term solutions to address the wildfires and restore affected areas. All of the listed nonprofits are eligible to receive donations through 1% for the Planet.
Nonprofits working on long-term fire solutions:
The National Forest Foundation engages Americans in community-based and national programs that promote the health and public enjoyment of the 193-million acre National Forest System. This happens through innovative partnerships, granting programs, volunteerism and highly-leveraged conservation investments.
NFF is currently seeking support to restore the health and vitality of Southern California’s National Forests – the Cleveland, San Bernardino, Los Padres and Angeles National Forests. They have created the Southern California Forest Fund to receive these urgently needed funds.
One Tree Planted works to reforest our planet and provide education, awareness and engagement on the importance of trees in our ecosystem. Five years of drought and a large-scale bark beetle infestation have seriously damaged California’s forests. 2017’s record-breaking wildfire season burned more than 1.3 million acres – an area the size of Delaware. Now, a record 129 million trees need to be restored in California. That's where One Tree Planted comes in.
With its 120,000 members, the California State Parks Foundation is the only independent nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks. California State Parks Foundation created a wildfire relief fund to fight the damage done by the fires.
California Fire Safe Council aims to be “California’s leader in community wildfire risk reduction and resiliency”. With the threat of wildfire looming ever-larger for many California communities, CFSC is redoubling its efforts to build strong local and countywide Fire Safe Councils, and lead efforts in community wildfire preparedness, education and mitigation to build fire-adapted communities throughout California.
The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) advocates for the science-based protection and restoration of Northwest California’s forests. EPIC is working to incorporate the traditional ecological knowledge of the region’s native people with a new scientific approach to wildfire management.
The CREW (Concerned Resource and Environmental Workers) is an environmentally-oriented nonprofit youth leadership and employment organization. Founded in 1991, the CREW provides leadership and job training, paid employment and community service opportunities to local young people aged 14 to 25. The nonprofit also provides the resources needed to preserve, maintain and improve public and private wild lands and to protect local communities against the threat of wildfire.
For over 30 years, Forests Forever has been rallying Californians in defense of the state’s 17 million acres of woodland ecosystems and watersheds. Forests Forever launched a campaign encouraging people to tell legislators the importance of listening to scientists instead of industry lobbyists when it comes to California's forests. They are working to send the message that removing the largest trees and letting stand the smaller, less-merchantable trees leaves behind a forest full of kindling.
The Sugar Pine Foundation is dedicated to saving Tahoe’s sugar pines and other white pines from the threat of an incurable, invasive fungus called white pine blister rust and strives to educate and involve the local community in forest stewardship and restoration.
The Sierra Institute for Community and Environment promotes healthy and sustainable forests and watersheds by investing in the well-being of rural communities and strengthening their participation in natural resource decisions. They launched the West Shore Community Wildfire Protection Project with the purpose of planning and implementing vegetation management activities within the wildland-urban interface (WUI).
Fire Adapted Communities' mission is to connect and support people and communities who are striving to live more safely with wildfire. The Network is a catalyst for spreading best practices and innovations in fire adaptation concepts nationwide.
Conservation Legacy focuses on local impact by engaging youth, young adults and veterans in conservation and service programs from 15 locations nationwide. The nonprofit is committed to being present in served communities to meet the on-the-ground conservation needs.
For 75 years, the Keep Oregon Green Association (KOG) has been educating the public on how to prevent wildfires. Beginning its efforts in April of 1941, after public outcry over the human-caused Tillamook Burns, roughly 250 Oregon leaders came together to form a Keep Oregon Green Association. KOG’s mission is to promote healthy landscapes and safe communities by educating the public on the shared responsibility to prevent wildfires.
Blue Forest is a mission-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to leveraging financial innovation to create sustainable investment solutions to environmental challenges. Blue Forest is harnessing financial innovation and building partnerships with investors, non-profits, private companies and the public sector to design sustainable solutions to systemic climate resilience challenges faced by vulnerable communities.
The Resilience Institute is dedicated to prioritizing partnerships with Indigenous communities to build capacity to adapt to climate change. To support climate adaption, TRI created the Fire with Fire Initiative, a multi-year, multi-partner initiative braiding Indigenous, local and scientific knowledges. The initiative will be mobilizing Indigenous and Scientific knowledge, establishing knowledge co-production between communities and spreading information via workshops with participating Indigenous communities.
The Central Sierra Historical Society supports the revitalization of the forests and communities surrounding Shaver Lake through land restoration, local stewardship, and economic efforts that honor the legacy of the land. The Central Sierra Resiliency Fund is a community and collaborative initiative. Community members and concerned professionals have created a Resiliency Council to administer the restricted fund and determine funding recipients.
Nonprofits to support for immediate fire relief:
CZU Complex: San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties
Sempervirens works to protect and permanently preserve redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, wildlife habitat, watersheds and other important natural features of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Sempervirens teamed up with Save the Redwoods to create the Big Basin Recovery Fund and the Santa Cruz Redwoods Restoration Fund which aims to support the immediate needs facing the park and to restore redwoods in the rest of the Santa Cruz mountains affected by the wildfires.
Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz (MBOSC) was founded to support, preserve and expand trail access and responsible mountain biking in Santa Cruz County, and has since become a highly skilled trail stewardship organization with expertise in advocacy, trail and bike park design, construction and maintenance, volunteer enablement and project funding. MBOSC is front and center when it comes to building and restoring trails.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has a mission to protect and care for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Read the blog from their President about the best ways to support organizations that need funding based on their work and relation to the fires.
Pie Ranch strives to cultivate a healthy and just food system from seed to table through education, emerging farmer training and regional partnerships. Pie Ranch has recently pivoted to providing over 800 produce boxes weekly to Bay Area families experiencing food insecurity through our farm fresh food relief initiative.
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) is a vital partner with California State Parks, creatively working to ensure our cherished local parks and beaches are thriving and available to all. Friends’ innovative and collaborative community partnership provides support and investment for education, equity and inclusion, conservation, facilities improvements, historic preservation and cultural events. In response to these devastating fires Friends have established the Friends Fire Fund. The fund will initially provide direct, short-term assistance for those most affected by the fire, followed by investments to be made in long-term recovery work for parks that have been damaged.
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods works to promote, restore and protect the natural and cultural resources of Russian River area State Parks through interpretation and public stewardship. With the help of 300 volunteers, they provide park visitors with a variety of programs and opportunities to experience and explore these exceptional parks. A Fire Recovery Fund has been started to aid in devastation caused by fires.
LNU Complex: Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Yolo Counties
*the third largest ever-recorded fire in the history of California
The Land Trust works cooperatively with landowners and communities to protect agricultural land, water resources, wildlife and wildlife corridors, scenic open space, forests, ranches, wildflower meadows and native biodiversity throughout Napa County. Since their start, The Land Trust has made significant progress toward creating a network of conservation lands that will continue to provide clean water, wildlife habitat and corridors, thriving agricultural lands and access to nature for all those who live in and visit the Napa Valley.
Community Alliance with Family Farms (CAFF) works to build sustainable food and farming systems through policy advocacy and on-the-ground programs that create more resilient family farms, communities and ecosystems. They implemented a Family Farmer Emergency Fund to support farmers impacted by the wildfires.
Dolan Fire: Monterey County, California
Ventana Wildlife Society works to recover California Condors in the wild and provide outdoor education programs for more than 1,000 youth annually. The nonprofit also restored a breeding population of Bald Eagles in central California and works on endangered species projects throughout the region.
Ventana Wilderness Alliance is protecting, preserving and restoring the wilderness qualities and biodiversity of the public lands within California's northern Santa Lucia Mountains and Big Sur coast. The VWA presented their findings to US Congressman Sam Farr, thereby providing a basis for the Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act, signed into law in December, 2002. The VWA then initiated projects to benefit the now-expanded Wilderness, its visitors and the wild species that call it home.
Since their start, Big Sur Land Trust's donors and partners have conserved and cared for over 40,000 acres throughout Monterey County. Big Sur Land Trust’s focuses on land protection, stewardship, outdoor youth programs, volunteer opportunities, community engagement and events. All of their efforts center around healthy lands, healthy people and healthy communities.