The American Red Cross in Arkansas has deployed two Disaster Responders to join Red Cross teams providing care since early July in north central Washington State for residents in the path of wildfires that have resulted in one fatality, 150 homes and more than 300,000 acres destroyed.
“While it’s most unusual for Red Cross responders in Arkansas deploy this far away from a disaster, this will be our second time within a few months to provide disaster support to the state of Washington,” stated American Red Cross in Arkansas Communication Officer, Brigette Williams. In March, two Arkansans with Red Cross mental health and shelter operations management experience provided care as rescue efforts continued after the Oso, Washington mudslide.
‘With the evacuation of close to 2,000 residents as wildfires continue to spread through the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forrest, additional mental health support is needed as well as technical communication support,” stated Williams.
Mollie Mills, a licensed professional counselor from Cleburne County, experienced after incidents from Arkansas’ recent tornadoes to last year’s Colorado flash floods, will join Red Cross mental health workers to provide coping skills and comfort to residents. Mental health care is also provided to Red Cross workers as well as first responders caring for traumatized disaster victims.
Ed Alspaugh, of Boone County, will work with Red Cross communication technical teams establishing and maintaining communications for service delivery. A volunteer since 2008, Alspaugh has provided technical communication expertise on a variety of responses including the Colorado flash floods last year.
The most recent wildfires were ignited a week ago by a lightning strike and grew from strong winds in the area. They continue to burn in the Cascade Mountains in north central Washington State. Red Cross has opened four emergency shelters, which can be located on Red Cross safety apps. (Wildfire, Tornado, Flood, Earthquake)