Firefighters continue efforts to put out the massive wildfires in southern California. The wildfires have destroyed nearly 1,500 buildings and forced more than half a million people to flee their homes, according to news reports. Public health remains a big concern during disasters like this. Not only are there respiratory risks associated with breathing in smoke and ash, but the mass evacuations of people from the affected areas, and closures of hospitals and long-term care facilities in the disaster zones can diminish health care options for the chronically ill and vulnerable populations who are often the most directly impacted by disasters. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) is coordinating with relief organizations and the health center community to direct resources and help for health centers and their patients and staff in the wildfire disaster zone. So far federally-supported Community Health Centers located in the seven counties declared federal disaster areas remain undamaged by the blaze; some have closed due to the mandatory evacuations or are operating with a skeletal staff. Click here to read more.