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Red Cross Responds to Fla. Floods, Western Wildfires

As Florida deals with the aftermath of torrential rainfall in the Southeast, Colorado and New Mexico are fighting their own battles against wildfires.

The American Red Cross opened three shelters on Saturday after major flooding caused the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Escambia County, Fla. On Sunday night, one shelter remained open in Pensacola, where more than 100 residents spent the night.

Meanwhile, a fast-moving wildfire in Colorado—still uncontained—has burned thousands of acres and led to extensive evacuations in Larimer County. The Red Cross opened a shelter for residents on Saturday in Laporte, Colo., which remained open as of Monday morning. In addition to providing a safe place for evacuees to spend the night, the shelter also serves as a gathering place for residents to check in and get news.

New Mexico is fighting its own wildfire burning in Lincoln County, near the community of Ruidoso. Preliminary assessments indicate that more than two dozen homes have been destroyed. The Red Cross opened shelters over the weekend for affected residents, and continues to monitor what is a rapidly changing situation.

Gusty winds, dry conditions and above average temperatures are expected to continue today in the Southwest, which could result in continued critical fire conditions. If you live in an area currently under alert:

  • 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.

Get more information by reading the Red Cross Wildfire Safety Checklist.

If you’d like to help, consider donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief or donating blood. Currently, the Red Cross has an urgent need for types O negative, B negative and A negative blood donations. Please call 1-800-RED CROSS or go online to to schedule an appointment to give blood.