Here's how to help victims of the Southern California wildfires

  • A series of wildfires are raging throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California.
  • The three largest blazes — known as the Thomas Fire, the Creek Fire, and the Rye Fire — are burning around Ventura, Sylmar, and Santa Clarita, scorching thousands of acres and showing no signs of stopping as of Wednesday morning.
  • More than 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, and many areas are under mandatory evacuation orders.

A series of wildfires are burning out of control in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California.

As many as 200,000 people have been displaced and authorities have closed the 405 Freeway, causing gridlock throughout the region. More than 50 schools were closed on Wednesday in the Los Angeles area. 

Aftermath of California wildfires:

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Aftermath of Ventura County, California wildfire
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Aftermath of Ventura County, California wildfire
The burnt remains of an automobile is seen at the Hawaiian Village apartments after a wind-driven wildfire swept into the city of Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
The remains of homes are seen, after they burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A real estate sign post is seen next to the remains of a home, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A home's remains are seen, next to a burnt out truck, after they were destroyed, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A house burns to the ground during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The remains of a home are seen, after it burned to the ground, during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A firefighter hoses down flareups at the two story Hawaiian Village Apartment complex that burnt to the ground during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, California on December 5, 2017. Firefighters battled a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California that has left at least one person dead, destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CALIFORNIA, USA - DECEMBER 5: The space where a house was is empty after the burned structure came down the hillside on December 5, 2017 in Ventura, California, United States. The fire has consumed over 50,000 acres according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection. (Photo by Justin L. Stewart/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept through the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept through the Clearpoint neighborhood of Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
CALIFORNIA, USA - DECEMBER 5: The Thomas Fire in Ventura county has consumed over 50,000 acres according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection on December 5, 2017 in Ventura, California, United States. (Photo by Justin L. Stewart/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Burnt out cars and a house are seen during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, California on December 5, 2017. Firefighters battled a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California that has left at least one person dead, destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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The first and largest blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, started on Monday evening in Ventura County. As of Wednesday morning, it had burned more than 50,500 acres and destroyed at least 150 structures out of at least 12,000 threatened.

The flames have crossed the 101 Freeway near Solimar Beach in Ventura County and have now reached the Pacific Ocean. On Wednesday morning, Caltrans announced a full closure of the 405 freeway between the 101 and 10 freeway, one of the busiest and most congested thoroughfares in Los Angeles. It has also closed all on-ramps to the 405.

Faces of those impacted by the Southern California wildfires:

17 PHOTOS
Faces of those impacted and battling the Ventura County, California wildfire
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Faces of those impacted and battling the Ventura County, California wildfire
SHADOW HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05:Judy Hofmann-Sanders hugs a firefighter on McBroom Street in Shadow Hills, where the Creek fire destroyed several homes. (Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Ventura County Firefighter Aaron Cohen catches his breath after fighting to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. 'We chased the fire from Santa Paula all the way into Ventura through the night,' Cohen said. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SYLMAR, CA - DECEMBER 5:A firefighter gets into position to battle the Creek Fire as a house is engulfed in flames near the intersection of Johanna Avenue and McBroom Street in Shadow Hills on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. The fire started at about 3:42 a.m. in the area of Gold Creek and Little Tujunga roads and has burned more than 11,000 acres. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SHADOW HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 05:Judy Hofmann-Sanders talks on the phone as her home is consumed by the Creek fire along McBroom Street in Shadow Hills. (Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Chino Valley Fire Engineer Chris Calvert works the engine as Firefighters fight to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday midday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Amanda Leon and husband Johnny Leon watch as Firefighters fight to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday midday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Local residents react as numerous homes burn on a hillside during a wind driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Local residents watch a home burn on a hillside during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Ventura police officer squints his eyes in the smoke after using his fire extinguisher to put out a spot fire as strong winds carry a wildfire into Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ventura policemen leave a neighborhood after checking a home as strong winds carry a wildfire into Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Firefighters battle flames from a Santa Ana wind-driven brush fire called the Thomas Fire in Santa Paula, California, December 4, 2017. Photo taken December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gene Blevins
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Tammy Hanna breaks into tears as she is hugged by husband Antoine as they are relieved their home was saved by Firefighters along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. 'We chased the fire from Santa Paula all the way into Ventura through the night,' Cohen said. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
VENTURA, CA - DECEMBER 05: Wearing his Christmas garb Justin Ekback watches as Firefighters fight to save multi-million dollar homes along Cobblestone Drive near Foothill Road and North Victoria Avenue Tuesday midday after a fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into Ventura destroying many homes early Tuesday, burning over 45,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SHADOW HILLS, CA DECEMBER 05, 2017 -- Judy Hofmann-Sanders can only watch as her home is consumed by the Creek fire along McBroom Street in Shadow Hills. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Local residents pass by a burning house during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, California, on December 5, 2017. Firefighters battled a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California that has left at least one person dead, destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Local residents Aaron Cohen hugs Tammy Hanna during the Thomas wildfire in Ventura, California on December 5, 2017. Firefighters battled a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California that has left at least one person dead, destroyed more than 150 homes and businesses and forced tens of thousands to flee. / AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
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Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, freeing up state funds to help tackle the wildfires.

"This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to tackle it with all we've got," Brown said. "It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so."

Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen told reporters that the fires' growth had been "absolutely exponential."

Here are a few ways you can help:

Thomas Fire Fund

  • The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund.
  • Text UWVC to 41444 to make a cash donation, call 805-485-6288, or go online to United Way of Ventura County's website.
  • Checks with "Thomas Fire Fund" in the memo line can be mailed to 702 County Square Drive, Suite 100 Ventura, CA 93003.

The Salvation Army

  • The Salvation Army is accepting food and water at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.
  • You can donate cash by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or visiting the website.

The Red Cross

The Humane Society of Ventura County

  • The Humane Society of Ventura County has taken in over 100 animals.
  • Drop off any of the following items at 402 Bryant St. in Ojai: Alfalfa hay, Timothy hay, cat chow, rabbit food, flashlights, headlamps, lanterns, water troughs, bottled water, fruit, snacks, hoses, and power generators.
  • Donate food and water for volunteers, or make a cash donation on HSVC's website.

Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation

  • Donate to Noah's Legacy Fund, which provides supplies, training, and equipment to first responders charged with rescuing animals from areas stricken by natural disasters.
  • Mail donations to P.O. Box 100515, Pasadena, CA 91189-0515 or through the LACACF website.

NOW WATCH: A driver in Los Angeles filmed huge smoke rising from a growing brush fire

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Schools and freeways closed, thousands of people forced to flee as multiple wildfires tear through Southern California

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