Kanye West, Kim Kardashian donate $500K to California wildfire relief efforts

On Wednesday, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West donated $500,000 to firefighters and victims of a massive Southern California wildfire that came close to destroying the celebrity couple’s own multimillion-dollar mansion.

Kardashian appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and said she and her husband West hired private firefighters to protect their home and others in their neighbourhood in Calabasas.

“We’re so grateful to them. Honestly, we couldn’t do it without them,” the reality TV star said.

Kardashian announced that on behalf of herself, West and his Adidas Yeezy label, they would be making two $200,000 donations. (All amounts U.S. dollars)

One donation is going to the Wildfire Relief Fund and the other to the California Fire Foundation.

Later in the episode, Kardashian met a firefighter named Michael and his wife, Lisa, who lost their home in the Woolsey fire while helping others save their homes.

After the couple shared their story to DeGeneres, Kardashian gave them a US$100,000 cheque to help go towards rebuilding their home.

“We obviously have all the firefighters that have helped, but to know that you lost your home, Kanye, Yeezy and Adidas wanted to donate to you guys $100,000 so that you guys can begin to pick up the pieces,” Kardashian told the couple.

Kardashian, West and their three children were among thousands of people forced to evacuate their homes during the 93,000-acre (37,635-hectare) Woolsey fire two weeks ago that spread into coastal Malibu, destroying 1,500 buildings and killing three people.

Kardashian said the flames “got to our gate. We are still not in our home now. The smoke, the smell is too intense.”

She said the couple felt blessed at being able to hire private firefighters.

“Our house is right on the end of a big park,” she said. “We were able to get private firefighters … and they saved our home and saved our neighbourhood. I had them make sure they controlled every house on the edge, so it wasn’t just our home.”

The Woolsey fire is now 93 per cent contained. A separate fire in northern California destroyed more than 12,000 homes and businesses in the town of Paradise and killed 81 people. Another 700 are still unaccounted for almost two weeks after the blaze swept through the town, beginning on Nov. 8.

—With files from Reuters

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