Helping our neighbors

What we can do to support those around us who’ve been affected by the wildfires

National news outlets have been covering California’s spate of fires, focusing mostly on the regions north of San Francisco. There, where the damage is most severe, at least 17 people have died as a result, according to emergency officials.

But as we know all too well, this disastrous situation has hit us here at home, too—Paradise, Cherokee and Bangor, among other regions in our backyard. Fire and rescue officials have said that a woman perished while attempting to flee her home in Loma Rica, a foothills community just outside of Butte County, in neighboring Yuba County, as the Cascade Fire quickly grew in the remote community. There, the flames spread before emergency personnel had the chance to issue a warning.

While it’s too early to know the depth of the destruction and potential further loss of life in any of these bucolic communities, the CN&R has learned that Chico City Councilman Andrew Coolidge’s father and his father’s fiancée are among the missing from fire-ravaged Loma Rica. As of press time, Coolidge told the CN&R that the Yuba County Sheriff’s Office was conducting a search of his father’s property, where the home was destroyed. Our thoughts go out to Coolidge and his family at this difficult time. Meanwhile, as of early Wednesday, that fire was only 20 percent contained and had burned more than 12,000 acres.

As for those of us here in the valley, there’s little we can do but offer to take in those displaced and give resources to organizations that provide aid in such situations. In Yuba County, donations of such items as toiletries, diapers, bottled water and pet supplies are being accepted at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds evacuation center. We’d also encourage readers to consider sending monetary contributions to the North Valley Animal Disaster Group (, a local nonprofit that helps rescue and care for pets and livestock during emergencies. And, of course, you can always make a donation to a specific cause at the Red Cross (