Thomas Fire & Flood - How to Help

In December, United Way of Santa Barbara County and United Way of Ventura County established the United Way Thomas Fire Fund. On January 9, 2018, a winter storm made landfall in Santa Barbara County, dropping more than 5 inches of rain on the charred landscape left behind in the wake of the Thomas Fire and causing devastating flash floods and debris flows. 23 fatalities have been confirmed and many homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed.

The staff at United Way of Santa Barbara County are deeply saddened by the recent flood and mudslides that have caused such devastation and loss of life in the community we all love. Many of our donors, supporters, family members and friends live and work in Montecito, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. If you have been directly affected, please know we are with you. The recovery effort will take a long time but we have hope that our strong community will see this through.

United Way of Santa Barbara County and United Way of Ventura County are expanding the established fund to be the United Way Thomas Fire and Flood Fund. In Santa Barbara County, the Fund will serve the long-term needs of Santa Barbara County families and individuals, as well as the short-term needs of Santa Barbara County nonprofit organizations helping evacuated individuals displaced by the Thomas Fire and floods caused by the fire scar.

How to Support Recovery Efforts:


To give online to support the United Way Thomas Fire & Flood Fund (supporting both Ventura County and Santa Barbara County victims), please visit:

To give a gift designated to Santa Barbara County fire and/or flood victims, please click here or text UWSBC to 40403.

For a list of Santa Barbara agencies accepting monetary and/or in-kind donations, please click here.

At this time, no agencies are accepting donations of used goods.


At this time, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County and the Salvation Army are accepting volunteers. Contact information can be found here.

To assist with cleanup and repair efforts, please contact:
Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County - Disaster Response
Bucket Brigade

You may sign up to volunteer for the Red Cross by following the instructions here:
How to Volunteer - English
Cómo Ser Voluntario - Español

Where to Get Help:

To submit your information to receive an alert regarding individual assistance from the United Way Thomas Fire & Flood Fund, please click here.

In person help from FEMA for disaster assistance is also still available at the Calvary Chapel located at 1 North Calle Cesar Chavez, Santa Barbara, CA. The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), jointly operated by the State of California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers residents affected by the December wildfires and flooding, mudflows, and debris flows directly related to the wildfires resources for disaster assistance.

Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday except Wednesdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until further notice.

Representatives from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies will staff the center. Residents of any of the designated counties – Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura – can seek help at the Santa Barbara DRC.  Before visiting a DRC, survivors are encouraged to apply online at or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may call 800-621-3362.  The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week.


Photo credit: Matt Udkow, Santa Barbara County Fire Department.