Uber Providing Free Rides for Victims of California Wildfires, Free Meals for First Responders

Uber car

Uber is offering free rides for victims of the California wildfires and free meals for first responders as the blazes continue to burn. 

In an effort to help those affected or displaced by the fires, the rideshare company is offering free rides for residents of San Mateo, Salinas, Aptos, Soquel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Carmel, Livermore, Napa, Half Moon Bay, Cupertino, Monterey, Vacaville, and Watsonville. 

“We’re devastated by the wildfires that continue to rage across the state of California and want to do our part in helping those who are suffering," Julia Paige, the director of social impact at Uber, told T+L in an email. "We’re leveraging the power of our platform to ensure residents and first responders have access to free rides, free meals and essential goods.” 

To take advantage of the free rides for UberX and Uber XL, residents were asked to use the code “CAFIRE2020.” The offer was good for two rides up to $25 each to or from impacted areas.

In addition, Uber is offering 2,000 free meals to firefighters and first responders working to put out the raging fires through Uber Eats. The company said it was distributing these meals through fire departments and other community organizations.

And to offset the hardship of bringing in essential items like food, water, and medical supplies, an Uber spokeswoman said the company’s Uber Freight platform is covering logistics costs.

This year’s wildfires, spurred on by extreme heat, have caused mayhem in the midst of California’s COVID-19 fight, forcing evacuations and causing dozens of state parks to shut down.

By Wednesday, a wave of cooler air had started to push in, helping firefighters gain some ground and allowing thousands of California residents to return home, The Associated Press reported. But the fight wasn’t over as blazes continued to burn and one fire in wine country, which has seen at least five deaths, jumped a highway, causing even more evacuation orders.

So far this year, more than 2,000 square miles have already burned in a fire season that got an unusually early start, Gov. Gavin Newsom told the wire service.

While the wildfires had moved into Big Basin Redwoods State Park — California’s oldest state park and home to some trees that are over 2,000 years old — much of the forest will survive.

Uber isn’t the only tech company aiming to help people affected by the fires: Last week, Google said it updated its search features to show wildfire boundary maps in near-real-time whenever people search for a wildfire.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram. 

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