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Red Cross Responds To Floods, Wildfires Out West

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Red Cross is responding to flooding and wildfires in the west while keeping an eye on tropical storms...

The American Red Cross is responding to flooding and wildfires in the west while keeping an eye on tropical storms which could affect weather in the south over the next few days.

FLOODING Heavy rains are causing flooding in Colorado, Nebraska, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. In Colorado, the Mile High Red Cross Chapter opened shelters for evacuees after heavy rains caused flooding in Larimer, Weld, Boulder and Jefferson counties. Government offices, businesses and schools are closed and about 200 people were forced to evacuate from the University of Boulder campus.

The Central Plains Chapter in Nebraska provided shelter and food for families after strong thunderstorms hit Sidney, Nebraska Wednesday. The Grand Canyon Chapter in northern Arizona and Southern Arizona Chapter opened shelters after heavy rain caused flooding throughout the state and is providing refreshments for first responders. And in New Mexico, the Red Cross opened a shelter and supported a county shelter after a strong storm flooded parts of Dona Ana and Chavez counties.

If someone’s neighborhood is threatened by flooding, they should take the following steps:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes upon a flowing stream where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of water can sweep them off their feet.
  • If someone encounters a flooded road while driving, they should turn around and go another way. Do not attempt to drive through the water. If caught on a flooded road, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautions at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Additional flood safety tips are available on this website.

    WILDFIRES Meanwhile the Clover Fire in California has consumed thousands of acres, destroying dozens of homes in its path and putting hundreds more at risk. The Red Cross of Northeast California opened a shelter for people who have had to leave their homes because of the fire and will be providing additional assistance in the days to come.

    WILDFIRE SAFETY If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should listen to local officials and be ready to evacuate quickly. Safety steps include the following:

  • Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Listen and watch for air quality reports and health warnings about smoke.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you do not have air conditioning and it is too hot to stay inside with closed windows, seek shelter elsewhere.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves. Do not vacuum because it stirs up particles that are already inside your home.
  • If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your health care provider's advice and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.
  • Pack an emergency disaster kit now including water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, important papers and cell phones and chargers, extra cash and maps of the area. People can also download the free Red Cross Wildfire App to get the latest fire news from local, state and federal agencies as well as access to preloaded information about what to do before, during and after a wildfire. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. More information is available on this web site.

    TROPICAL STORMS Tropical Storms Gabrielle and Humberto and a third unnamed storm which is expected to grow to tropical storm strength are not expected to make landfill in the United States, but could bring rain and rip currents to the Texas over the next several days. The Red Cross is working with federal, state and local officials to prepare to respond if needed.

    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.