Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

airbnb offering free rooms to those displaced by california wildfires
Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

The recent wildfires in California have devastated communities, taken lives, and left many of those affected in a deep state of shock.

The tragedy has also left many people without a home to return to or forced them from their neighborhoods, prompting Airbnb to activate its Open Homes program that offers free accommodation for displaced residents, as well as for people assisting with relief efforts.

Airbnb is now adding free housing listings for people affected by the Hill and Woolsey fires near Los Angeles and the Camp fire in northern California, with rooms available through November 29.

To find free accommodation near the affected areas, you first have to create an Airbnb account or log into your existing account. After that, it’s possible to search $0 listings by clicking “find shelter” on a disaster-response page. For those displaced by the Hill and Woolsey fires, click here to search a map for $0 rooms. For those affected by the Camp fire, click here.

Any miscreants considering trying to score free accommodation when they don’t need it should take note. The booking site has systems in place designed to prevent such behavior, and anyone found to be taking advantage of the situation will be ordered to leave the property at once.

Current data on Airbnb’s site reveals that around 2,200 hosts in the areas above have so far signed up to offer free shelter for those who need it.

Other tech firms are also providing assistance for the relief effort. Google, for example, is customizing its web tools for features such as Crisis Maps to help the authorities quickly gather relevant information, while Facebook has created Crisis Response pages to help those affected maintain contact. Apple and Microsoft are also looking at ways to help, and like both Google and Facebook, are donating cash to organizations that are helping evacuees.

Airbnb launched its Open Homes program in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and has put it into action many times since. Before this week, another recent activation was prompted by Hurricane Florence, which barreled into the East Coast of the U.S. in September, forcing many people to seek shelter before it made landfall.

When the Open Homes tool is activated in the wake of a disaster, Airbnb automatically makes contact with hosts close to the affected area to see if they have any means to accommodate those affected. Hosts who are able to help then have their spaces listed free of charge, with Airbnb waiving all booking fees.

Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.

New Moment photo cases and lenses are a big plus for the OnePlus 6T

Moment has announced that it is now releasing photo cases and lenses for the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, giving owners of those phones the ability to add on some high-quality photographic accessories.
Smart Home

Dog or cat shedding? These vacuums do a great job of sucking up pet hair

Got a pet hair problem? Fortunately, there's help for you and your furry friend. We tested out a bunch of vacuums that promise to remove pet hair. Here are a few of the best you can buy.
Product Review

Ring Alarm makes DIY home security simple and affordable enough for everyone

Ring first made waves with its video doorbell, and now the Amazon-owned company is moving on to home security with the Ring Alarm. You can install the sensors and keypads yourself, then have Ring professionally monitor your home.
Smart Home

Rocco wants to rock out. Parrot learns to use owner’s Amazon Alexa

Rocco, an African gray parrot, fell in love with his owner's Alexa unit and ordered himself treats and other goodies, but mostly uses the smart assistant to rock out to his favorite music.
Smart Home

The Echo Wall Clock can help you keep track of multiple Alexa timers

Amazon just released the Echo Wall Clock that was announced at its September new hardware device event in Seattle. The Echo Wall Clock is an analog clock that also indicates the minutes remaining on one or more Alexa timers.
Smart Home

Espresso On Demand: The five best Nespresso machines

Most people still trek down to their local coffee shop to get an espresso or a cappuccino, but you don't have to. A Nespresso machine can put coffee shop quality espresso on your kitchen counter.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.

Get electronics gifts for high-tech homes for under $100 with these deals

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas just around the corner. New deals on interesting, fun, and practical electronic gifts under $100 from major online retailers can convert last-minute shoppers to savvy bargain hunters.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.