SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County has some of the most giving communities in the country. As such, residents want to appreciate the hard work from firefighters battling the Whittier Fire with food donations but county officials say "hold on just a minute."
The County of Santa Barbara posted the following statement on their Instagram page:
"The firefighters greatly appreciate that the community wants to make donations of food and items. They want the community to know that they are adequately taken care of and ask that you donate to disaster relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross, local food bank, etc"
"If you are wanting to financially support the incident, please be advised that often individuals take advantage of the situation by setting up false GoFundMe and other types of fundraising accounts that are not legitimate. If you are interested in donating to help in an incident, call and verify that the beneficiary is authentic."
"Avoid Incident Command Post. In order for fire personnel to have unrestricted access to the site, and for safety reasons, we ask that the public not attempt to reach the incident command post. Thank you for your continued support and concern for those protecting our community during this and future incidents."
The City of Goleta released the following statement:
"There’s a rumor that has been circulating on Nextdoor and in the community that the fire operations post at Dos Pueblos High School needs supplies. This is NOT accurate. It is fully stocked with everything the firefighters need to do their jobs. Making sure fire personnel have food, water, shelter and other supplies is part of the response structure for every incident and there are dedicated logistics personnel who handle these details."
"The best thing you can do now is to stay away from Dos Pueblos so fire personnel have unrestricted access to move to and from the command post. Thank you for your continued support and concern for those protecting our lives and property during this incident."
For anyone looking to verify whether a fundraising account is legitimate, call the Public Information Line at 805-699-6451.