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Red Cross Responds to Northern California Wildfires

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SACRAMENTO, Calif., Wednesday, September 17, 2014 – Wildfire season is in full swing and the American Red Cross Capital Region is hard at work supporting communities affected by continuing, drought-fueled blazes throughout our 24-county territory.

American Red Cross Capital Region volunteers are hard at work assisting residents impacted by two large wildfires – the Boles Fire in the City of Weed (Siskiyou County) and the King Fire (El Dorado County). Since Sunday, the Red Cross has operated three shelters, providing overnight stays for more than 200 residents and serving hundreds of meals to the affected communities.

Boles Fire*

Volunteers are operating an evacuation shelter at the National Guard Armory – 618 Everitt Memorial Highway – in Mt Shasta to care for residents impacted by this devastating fire in the City of Weed. Volunteers are providing safe shelter, food, and meeting the immediate emergency needs of affected residents.

Volunteers will soon begin the process of “bulk distribution”, providing clean up supplies for residents as they begin returning to their properties. When it is safe to do so, volunteers will work with community members to assess damages and determine any assistance needed for the recovery process.

The Boles Fire began and spread quickly on Monday, September 15, burning nearly 400 acres and damaging/destroying more than 150 homes in the small community of Weed, located near the base of Mount Shasta.

King Fire

Red Cross volunteers continue to operate an evacuation shelter at the Seventh Day Adventist Church – 3520 Carson Rd - in the nearby town of Camino. The Red Cross continues to provide safe shelter, meals, and a meeting place for community members as firefighters continue their work to gain control on the blaze.

Since it began on Saturday, the King Fire has grown to more than 18,000 acres with limited containment.

Pollock Pines is located in El Dorado County approximately 45 miles west of Lake Tahoe.

HOW TO HELP

Donate

Help people affected by disasters like wildfires in California and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

* For those interested in donating specifically to the long-term rebuilding and recovery needs of residents in Weed affected by the Boles Fire, please visit the Shasta Regional Community Foundation website at http://www.shastarcf.org/

Volunteer

The Red Cross has enough volunteers for this response at this time. However, if you would like to be trained as a Red Cross disaster volunteer to respond to future disasters, sign up at www.redcross.org/volunteer 

NOTE - As a reminder, the Red Cross is unable to accept donations of items such as food and clothing at our evacuation shelters and other facilities.

RESPONSE INFORMATION ONLINE:

For updates on the Red Cross response, connect with the Capital Region online. On Twitter, follow @RedCrossCRC and @RedCrossNECal. On Facebook, ‘like’ us at www.facebook.com/RedCrossCRC and www.facebook.com/RedCrossNEC

WILDFIRE SAFETY

Wildfires are an ongoing threat in our 24-county Capital Region, and the severe drought conditions throughout the state only enhance our risks. While we may not be able to predict when and where a disaster may occur, we can take steps to reduce the risk and impact of an emergency such as a wildfire.

How to Prepare for a Wildfire

  • Post emergency phone numbers by every phone in your home.
  • Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
  • Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
  • Regularly clean roofs and gutters.
  • Assemble or replenish family emergency kits

Plan ahead and stay as safe as possible during a wildfire

  • Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood in case your primary route is blocked.
  • Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
  • Identify someone who is out of the area to contact if local phone lines are not working.

More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.

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, includes features like the “Blaze Tracker” which can be customized to alert someone to fires where they live, travel or have loved ones.

The Wildlfire App also includes:

  • “Blaze Warnings” which let users see areas where NOAA has issued warnings that conditions are favorable for potential wildfires.
  • “Blaze Alerts” which inform users when a wildfire has begun within 100 miles of any locations monitored.
  • “Blaze Path” from Inciweb.org which provides users with a current view of an existing wildfire’s perimeter, how it has spread and the fire’s current location when available.
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets, text or email that they are out of harm’s way.
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan.
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Capital Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/capitalregion or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossCRC and @RedCrossNECal.