By Drew McNeil, Communications Volunteer, Los Angeles, CA, 90025
July 28, 2016, 5 p.m. --- When the first flames began burning the dry brush along northbound Hwy 14 and Sand Canyon on July 22, the Red Cross Los Angeles Region began mobilizing volunteers to respond. The “Sand Fire” has now scorched nearly 40,000 acres and is still only 65% contained. This fire has resulted in 18 burned homes, one fatality and approximately 10,000 mandatory evacuations.
While some evacuees were able to stay with relatives, friends or find hotels, the Red Cross is providing shelter to everyone who needs it and has opened as many as four emergency shelters during the week for the displaced. On a given night, there have been as many as 168 people staying in Red Cross shelters. In addition, the Red Cross and its partners distributed 1,784 meals, nearly 3,000 snacks, distributed comfort and care items, and provided mental and spiritual care when needed.
Two shelters remain open:
Hart High School, 24825 N. Newhall Ave., Santa Clarita, CA 91321 and
Highland High School, 39055 25th St. West, Palmdale, CA 93551
The response phase is now shifting to recovery, and as mandatory evacuations are lifted and people return to their homes, the Red Cross is sending teams out into the field to determine needs and assist people in whatever way possible. While many have returned home, damaged property and loss of power are only two of the challenges facing those in the communities suffering from effects of the fire.
The community support for the victims of the Sand Fire has been impressive, as generous in-kind donations continuously poured in. The Red Cross has been working with local food shelters and charitable organizations to ensure that all the donations that are not directly used towards victims in the shelters stay within the community.
The Red Cross relies on the generosity of donors to provide disaster assistance at no cost. While donations of food and other goods are no longer accepted, financial donations are the quickest, and best way to get help to people who need it most. Financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help we deliver and ensure that we can provide what disaster victims need most. Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Online donations: redcross.org Phone donations: Call 1-800-RED CROSS Text to Donate: Text Wildfire to 75759 for updates or to all our disaster responses.
To see more photos by Communications Volunteers Roxanne Schorbach, Debi Moraza and Mimi Teller, please visit here.