ToolBank USA Impact Statement from Oak Fire Survivors and Alliance for Community Transformations

On July 22, 2022, the Oak Fire took hold in our small rural county of Mariposa. Before the fast-moving and devastating fire could be tamed and put out on August 10th, it destroyed 19,244 acres and over 189 buildings, including 129 homes: displacing over 214 members of our small-knit community.

Over the last year, the Alliance for Community Transformations has provided fire case management services to those directly impacted to help assist them to get back on their feet and navigate the long road ahead of them as they look at rebuilding their homes and their lives after losing everything that they once owned.

During this time, our community also experienced the devastating effects of two atmospheric river flooding and heavy snow events that further damaged properties, including roads, driveways, outbuildings, and even temporary housing units. This was a double blow to our Oak Fire survivors and has only added to their struggle to rebuild.

Over the last few months, having the ToolBank trailer filled with much-needed tools to assist home/property owners has been a bright light in what has otherwise been a challenging and defeating time for many Oak Fire survivors. Our partnership with ToolBank USA and the tools that they have supplied and continue to supply as our needs change has made such a positive impact on our survivors.

The ToolBank trailer is housed at a secure and easily accessible location at our local Fairgrounds with much-needed tools to be loaned out to our Oak Fire Survivors. Now that the weather events have subsided, there has been an uptick in the use of the tools over the last month. 

Our survivors are utilizing tools to help clear their land, unclog culverts, build storage sheds, haul debris and brush, repair water lines, make fixes to temporary housing (RV trailers), put up fencing for livestock, and perhaps the most important fix; giving our survivors hope and the ability to physically contribute to their recovery/rebuilding process.

We are grateful for our partnership with ToolBank USA and the tools and services that they provide to our survivors. If we find that we need a tool(s) that we do not have on hand, a simple email request stating our need is quickly addressed and tools are shipped to us.


Perhaps the best way to conclude and share how important these tools and the ToolBank trailer are to our survivors is in their own words:

“I have been utilizing the tools from the ToolBank religiously over the last month to help me get back on my feet at my property. The tools have allowed me to build a storage shed and a shelter for our rescue donkey.


I have several more projects in the works that could not happen without the use of these tools.”


“The tools that I have been able to check out have let me build stairs and a temporary porch for my temporary trailer that I can now live in while I start rebuilding.”


“These tools allow me to tackle some much-needed projects on my property so that I can start to visualize what a rebuild can look like and has given me hope.”

On behalf of our Oak Fire Survivors, we send our most sincere thanks and gratitude to ToolBank USA. Not only does this program provide much-needed physical tools for our survivors, but it also has provided the intangible “tool” of hope.


Tammi Richards, Fire Case Manager / ToolBank Supervisor
Alliance for Community Transformations
Mariposa, California

The Oak Fire was a destructive wildfire that burned north of the community of Bootjack in Mariposa County, California, and in the Sierra National Forest, during the 2022 California wildfire season. The fire was reported on July 22, 2022, and burned 19,244 acres (7,788 ha) before being fully contained on September 2, 2022. On June 16, 2023, a 71-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire.

The Oak Fire started amid a prolonged and intense drought. Sixty percent of California fell under extreme drought conditions, which particularly affected the region of the Oak Fire—a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Hanford noted that the area’s drought indices were the driest in all the Sierra Nevada. Scientific research suggested that the drought was exacerbated by climate change-caused temperature increases. When the fire began, hot and dry conditions prevailed over the region: according to the National Weather Service temperatures were in the low or mid-90s °F and relative humidity levels hovered around eight or nine percent. Additionally, the prior years of drought had created a “tremendous” load of fuel, with dry vegetation and many dead trees.

Oak Fire (2022). (2024, January 5). In Wikipedia.

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