Just as LA’s Saddleridge wildfire broke out last Thursday night, José Andrés’ disaster relief organization World Central Kitchen was quick to provide hot meals to those displaced by evacuations. Previously World Central Kitchen tended to survivors after Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, as well as the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Santa Ana winds and low humidity didn’t help the blaze, which spread to nearly 8,000 acres throughout the San Fernando Valley and northern Los Angeles, including Chatsworth, Granada Hills, Porter Ranch, Santa Clarita, and Sylmar. Nearly 100,000 residents were forced to evacuate, and 13 structures were lost in the fire. Flames spread across the 210 and 5 Freeways, and forced parts of the 405 to close, according to Curbed LA.
World Central Kitchen set up an emergency kitchen at the San Buenaventura Mission, where the team worked with Red Cross and the City of Los Angeles to deliver food to first responders and those affected by the fire.
Activated and cooking within hours of #SaddleridgeFire...we are back where we started for Thomas Fire in 2017! Some coming from Bahamas, our @WCKitchen team moved quick. This is the new model of relief...no waiting, fill gaps, & work alongside local community! #ChefsForCalifornia pic.twitter.com/dSE9rvkjHx— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 12, 2019
Between the Saddleridge Fire and Riverside County’s Sandalwood Fire, air quality took a nosedive throughout Southern California. It was impossible to miss the smoky air, and two Santa Monica farmers markets skipped Saturday operations due to the smoke.
WCC also came to Southern California during the devastating Thomas Fire, when the organization fed first responders and wildfire evacuees in 2017. In addition to operating World Central Kitchen, Andrés also operates The Bazaar and Somni at the SLS Hotel.