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Floods and Wildfires Affect Parts of Country

Mother Nature is impacting the country with fire and water and the American Red Cross is helping those affected.

In the greater Duluth, Minnesota area, severe storms produced as much as ten inches of rain, leading to major flooding. Almost 400 residents have voluntarily left their homes, thousands are without power, schools and businesses are closed and many roads and bridges are impassable. While the rainfall has subsided, officials are watching for more flooding on the Mississippi and St. Louis Rivers.

The Red Cross opened shelters and is supporting other shelters in the region, helping more than 200 people who sought refuge overnight from the flooding. Red Cross workers are providing meals, health and mental health support and will begin serving meals throughout affected neighborhoods as the areas become accessible.

The Red Cross asks that people in the affected areas heed official evacuation and emergency recommendations. More information is available in the Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist.

WILDFIRES Fires have consumed thousands of acres in Colorado and strong winds and low humidity have increased the risk for more fires. Almost 200 homes have been destroyed in one of the fires and mandatory and voluntary evacuations have forced hundreds from their homes.

The Red Cross continues to operate shelters, as well as provide meals, relief supplies and health and mental health assistance to those affected. At a shelter in Woodland Park, Donna Marie Spruce never imagined she'd spend her birthday in a shelter, awaiting news on when she could go back home. "It has been stressful but they (volunteers) have made me feel special," she said. Red Cross workers provided a birthday cake so Spruce’s birthday would be special despite being displaced by the Springer Wildfire outside of Lake George, Colorado.

HEAT WAVE Meanwhile, much of the country is experiencing extremely high temperatures. Temperatures in some areas are expected to exceed 100 degrees. The Red Cross encourages people to take steps to safely endure the soaring temps. For more information on what to do during this heat wave, you can download the Red Cross heat wave safety checklist.

Red Cross volunteers provided a birthday cake and hugs for Donna Marie Spruce at a shelter in Colorado. Pictured with Donna are (from left) Dennis Hoyt, Brigitte Balog RN, Maureen Biggers RN, Don Espinoza, Dan Chavez and Pam Lucero. Photo credit: American Red Cross. Red Cross disaster relief workers respond to flooding in Duluth, MN, and surrounding areas. Photo credit: Judy Hanne-Gonzalez.