How to Help

Supporting Those Affected by West Coast Wildfires

September 17, 2020

In a year that has been filled with challenges and misfortune, another threat is currently ravaging the West Coast. As of today, ongoing extreme wildfires have killed more than 30 people, displaced tens of thousands from their homes, engulfed entire towns and destroyed 5 million acres of forests and wildlife habitat. Smoke from the fires has reached as far as Europe, creating unprecedented levels of air pollution. As firefighters attempt to contain and extinguish the blazes, some experts estimate that the fires will leave behind $20 billion in damages. Some of our most cherished public lands — including sections of our sister Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) — may never be the same.

In response to this devastation, we at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are asking you to consider donating to the organizations directly helping those impacted by the West Coast wildfires. Financial contributions to these charities and nonprofits will help aid evacuees and victims by providing food, shelter and support for first responders.

The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) will also need your help in the wake of these fires. Please remember PCTA as you start to plan your year-end giving and, once these crises are over, consider volunteering with the PCTA for trail maintenance or joining a regional group along the PCT. Since 1977, the PCTA has protected, maintained and advocated for the PCT, and their work will be essential when the fires along the Trail have finally been extinguished.

While it is difficult to predict the long-term impact of wildfires or the complexity behind how they could impact the ecosystem, we can make a difference in supporting each other during this difficult time.

Stay safe,

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Team