Camp Fire

man standing in campfire

The Camp Fire started in November 2018 in Butte County, and its impact will be felt for years to come. It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. In just a few short hours, the fire destroyed nearly all of Paradise and many Ridge communities. It also:

  • Took the lives of 85 civilians
  • Burned over 150,000 acres
  • Destroyed 18,000+ structures, including almost 14,000 homes and 30 schools
  • Cost $16.5 billion in damages
  • Left thousands of individuals traumatized and in desperate need of resources

Many people affected by the fire still don’t have basic needs met, such as food, housing, and employment. The challenge is unprecedented. There is much work to be done to recover and rebuild. With your help, the United Way of Northern California is up to the challenge.

How We’re Helping

Since the onset of the fire, United Way of Northern California staff and volunteers have worked around the clock to deliver emergency resources to those affected. For many years to come, we will continue to help those still struggling to find long-term, stable housing solutions. With the help of our generous partners, some of the ways we’re helping include:

Cash Assistance Program

United Way of Northern California launched a relief fund to support those impacted by the Camp Fire. In the months following the fire, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, nearly $5 million of those funds were distributed to individuals and families who lost their homes. UWNC carefully vetted and distributed cash assistance to more than 8,000 families to help cover basic needs items such as food, clothing, and medicine.

2-1-1 Helpline

Butte-Glenn 2-1-1 is an essential community resource, linking Butte County residents who need help with organizations that can provide assistance, such as United Way of Northern California. Knowing how critical this program is, especially during times of disaster, UWNC provided Butte 2-1-1 with a $42,000 grant for hiring additional call specialists to answer survivors’ calls. Additionally, UWNC and Butte-Glenn 2-1-1 are collaborating on a Red Cross-funded project to connect with survivors who have relocated outside of Butte County and provide them with resources, including case management. If you or someone you know is still in need of recovery assistance, Butte-Glenn 2-1-1 can be reached from anywhere by dialing 1-866-916-3566.

Back-to-School Shopping Events

In 2019, United Way of Northern California sponsored two Back-to-School shopping sprees for students who lost their homes in the Camp Fire. With the help of volunteers, 280 youth replaced clothing, school supplies, toys and other items at the Target in Chico. A big thank you to our partners!

  • Target
  • Butte County Office of Education
  • IBM
  • Starbucks
  • Klean Kanteen
  • Wells Fargo
  • Umpqua Bank
  • US Bank
  • Banner Bank
  • AAA
  • Alliance for workforce development
  • UPS
  • Allstate-Brian Saeturn

The Stable Housing Opportunities Program

This program helps Camp Fire survivors who are homeless or living in their car move into stable housing. It can cover the cost of first month’s rent, deposit, moving/relocation costs and other barriers to accessing housing. Each family is eligible for up to $5,000 for these costs, paid directly to the landlord or vendor. This gift allows the family to experience some stability while they recover from the trauma.

Support for Other Agencies

UWNC supports other agencies involved in the wildfire recovery process. For example, we provide case management support to the Camp Fire Long-Term Recovery Group, an organization dedicated to rebuilding a healthy and thriving Butte County in the months and years following the Camp Fire. We have also provided direct service grants to some of the following agencies to help their support for Camp Fire survivors:

  • Jesus Center
  • Oroville Southside Community Improvement Association
  • Butte County Fire Safe Council
  • Chabad Jewish Center
  • Help Central Inc.
  • Hope Center
  • Camp Fire Zone Project
  • Community Housing Improvement Program Inc.
  • Oroville Rescue Mission
  • Peg Taylor Center
  • Magalia Community Church Resource and Recovery Center
  • Caring Choices
  • Chico Housing Action Team
  • Plumas Crisis Intervention & Resource Center
  • Tzu Chi Foundation
  • Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley
  • Butte-Community Action Agency
  • Tehama Together
  • American Legion

More than 8,000 Camp Fire families helped to date!

The Gapuz family bought a house in Paradise and spent four years fixing it up. They’re devastated now that everything is gone. After the fire, they were able to make it to the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center and get help from UWNC. They received $500 and said it was a lifesaver. Leo said he was so grateful to UWNC for the money that, “I just started crying, wondering why they were so generous.”

The Laufer family lost both their home and business in the Camp Fire. “Receiving help from United Way took some pressure off my mind as we were looking for a new place to call home,” said Kerri Laufer. Another bright moment was participating in the Target back-to-school shopping spree, organized by United Way. Kerri said it was a happy moment for her girls and, “they left feeling so special and happy that UWNC kept caring for us.”

In 1977, the Deppes built their dream home in Paradise. They sought assistance at the Disaster Resource Center, where UWNC was distributing funds. The Deppes said the volunteers and staff were caring and organized. “You don’t know in a stressful situation like this what you need, but United Way knows! They offered what they have and what they know, bringing comfort to me and so many in my community,” Mrs. Deppes said.

How You Can Help

The United Way of Northern California has supported thousands of people impacted by the Camp Fire. And we’re just getting started. We’re creating new initiatives as a direct response to the difficult road ahead for these members of our community. We need your help.

To donate, click here or contact Astrid Withrow at or (530) 319-3149 x204.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Melody Proebstel at or visit

If you need help, there are a few ways to reach out. Call Butte-Glenn 2-1-1 from anywhere by dialing 1-866-916-3566, or click here to complete an online intake form

To receive updates about recovery resources, text CAMPFIRE to 898-211.

To learn more about the status of the Camp Fire recovery, visit

Thank You to Our Partners!