Salvation Army continues Thomas Fire response

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The blaze has now charred 250,000 acres.

The Thomas fire is now the fourth largest in California’s history.

The massive inferno has charred roughly 250,000 acres and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures. Fire crews are working to establish containment lines above Carpinteria, Montecito and Santa Barbara. Air quality in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties has plummeted into the unhealthy to hazardous range.

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army continues to work with groups across the region to serve impacted residents. As shelters have scaled back and some evacuation orders have been lifted, the focus has shifted into recovery. The Salvation Army concluded its meal service Dec. 9, serving nearly 5,000 meals.

It’s now focusing on two distribution centers: The Salvation Army Ventura Corps and the Santa Paula Community Center. Both locations are distributing canned goods and non-perishable food items, while the Santa Paula location is also distributing clothing, hygiene products, diapers, clean-up kits, respirator masks, toiletries and more. In three days (Dec. 11–13) the centers have combined to distribute 99 blankets, 416 items of clothing, food items to 57 households, 144 cases of water and 417 respirator masks.

The Local Assistance Center (LAC) set up at Poinsettia Pavilion is hosting several agencies and organizations, including The Salvation Army, to offer information and assistance to survivors. The Salvation Army has been providing financial assistance to families and individuals at the LAC that have lost their homes to the fire. So far, they’ve given out roughly $6,000 in vouchers and gift cards.

Staff and volunteers are also offering prayer and counsel at the Ventura Corps and the LAC.

The LAC is tentatively open until Dec. 31 depending on the needs of the community.

“We have seen an upward trend on the number of households that have come in,” said Nicholas Nguyen, Southern California Emergency Disaster Services Director and Service Extension Director. “If the trend continues, we’ll be looking to staying for awhile.

The Salvation Army will maintain a presence in the impacted communities for as long as needed.

CAL fire officials said they don’t expect to reach full containment of the fire until Jan. 7.

To support relief efforts, visit socal.salvationarmy.org or call 1 800 SAL ARMY.

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