Wildfires Force Evacuations – Red Cross Helps

Wildfires in California Force Evacuations
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by today’s fire

Thursday, May 2, 2013 — A large wildfire in Riverside County, California is consuming thousands of acres, forcing hundreds from their homes. The American Red Cross is operating an evacuation center, providing food and water for those who have had to leave their neighborhoods and standing by if additional assistance is needed.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by today’s fire,” said Maxine Margaritis, regional chief executive officer for the Red Cross serving Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The Red Cross encourages anyone affected to come to the evacuation center for help. The fire has burned almost 3,000 acres, at one time forcing about 750 people from their homes. Winds and dry conditions make conditions ripe for fire through the end of the week.

MORE FIRES POSSIBLE IN MAY The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services reports there will be a significant potential for wildfires this month in Oregon, California, Arizona and Virginia. Severe drought conditions in the west raise the possibility for severe early season fire activity continuing into the summer.

WILDFIRE SAFETY If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should make sure driveway entrances and house numbers are clearly marked and identify and maintain an adequate water source outside their home such as a small pond or swimming pool.

It’s a good idea to select building materials and plants that resist fire and regularly clean roofs and gutters. 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 and email that they are out of harm’s way.
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
  • HOW TO HELP In addition to this fire, Red Cross disaster workers have responded to several large disasters in the last several weeks, including the explosions in Massachusetts and Texas and the flooding across the Midwest. If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like these, they can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

    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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