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Flooding, Wildfires: Evacuees Tell Their Stories

Hundreds of American Red Cross volunteers are helping people affected by devastating and historic flooding in West Virginia and fast-moving wildfires in California, which collectively have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to seek shelter elsewhere.

HOW TO HELP These are large and complex relief responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support now to help people like eight-year-old Doslyn Epps, who had to evacuate with her family when the wildfires in California threatened her home in Walker Basin. The family has been staying at the Red Cross shelter in Kernville since June 26. The fire burned over 45,000 acres in four days and destroyed as many as 200 homes. The Epps family is still not sure if their home is still standing, but Doslyn’s father, Dana, expressed his thanks for the support from the Red Cross. “We are so grateful for the Red Cross being here to help,” he said. Doslyn is especially thankful to the Kernville Union School District which has scheduled their summer daily activities to accommodate children from the shelter. Doslyn and other kids were able to get away from the shelter for a few hours and have a day of fun and activities.

In West Virginia, Randall and Tianna Butler recently moved into an upstairs apartment with their two-year-old daughter, Skyler. Tianna is 8 months pregnant. “Last Thursday the rains started. It came up really fast. When we saw the hillside crumble from the water we called 911, who told us it was safer to stay in the top part of the house rather than risk moving outdoors with all the flooding going on”, Butler said. His wife started to have contractions and she and little Skyler were rescued at 12:30 in the morning. Dad Randall joined them later. “We really appreciate what the Red Cross has done,” Butler said. “I never had any encounter with the Red Cross nor do I know anyone who has dealt with them, but everything they did has been top-notch; they are really professional.”

DONATE NOW Those who would like to help the Red Cross support people affected by disasters like flooding, wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

While we appreciate the good intentions of people who want to donate material items, the Red Cross does not have the infrastructure to support the vetting and distribution of these items during a disaster response. Therefore, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. For those who still wish to donate clothes or household items, the Red Cross has partnered with:

  • In California, please go to Goodwill Industries of South Central California
  • In West Virginia, please reach out to a local charitable organization nearest to you
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

    Donate Now

    Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross.

    $10.00 is the minimum online donation amount. All donations are tax deductible.