Red Cross Responds To Wildfires Out West

Wildfire
Experts say weather conditions are favorable for wildfires in the region for the next several days.

The American Red Cross is responding to wildfires burning in several western states and has steps people should to remain safe if fires threaten their community. Experts say weather conditions are favorable for wildfires in the region for the next several days.

Wildfires burning in Oregon, Texas, California and Washington forced people from their neighborhoods. The Douglas Complex Fire in Oregon has burned more than 21,000 acres and is only five percent contained. In Washington, a fire in Klickitat County has already burned more than 22,000 acres and is 60 percent contained. Another fire near Wenatchee, WA, has consumed almost 60,000 acres and is only eight percent contained. Fires are also burning in Bastrop County, Texas, and Humboldt County, California. In all four states, the fires forced residents to evacuate and Red Cross workers opened shelters and provided meals and drinks.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports there are 88 new wildfires burning and 24 are uncontained. States affected include Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, California, Nevada and Alaska.

WILDFIRE SAFETY If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should be ready to evacuate quickly and pack a disaster kit 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. Safety steps they should take include the following:

  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated information.
  • Back the car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to leave the home quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Watch for air quality reports and health warnings about smoke.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.
  • 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.
  • DOWNLOAD WILDFIRE APP Another thing people should do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app, found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, gives users instant access to information on what to do before, during and after wildfires – even without mobile connectivity. The latest news from local, state and federal fire agencies is also available in the Wildfire News section, as well as the location of open Red Cross shelters.

    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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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