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Maine Red Cross Team Responds to California Wildfires

South Portland & Topsham Residents Traveling to Assist in Relief Efforts

PORTLAND (Thursday, August 18th) – An American Red Cross of Maine team is traveling to California to assist communities impacted by the raging wildfires that are destroying homes, causing power outages and subjecting residents to repeated evacuation orders.

Several wildfires in California, including the explosive Blue Cut Fire in in the hills of San Bernardino, California (about 60 miles from Los Angeles) has burned over 31,600 acres near the 15 Freeway in Cajon Pass.  This fire raged so intensely and spread so quickly that it sprouted fire tornadoes.

Tomorrow morning, Carolyn Angeline (of Topsham) will be traveling from the Portland Jetport and Dave Sheehan (of South Portland) is already in route to the region. Both individuals will be responsible for assisting in managing shelters, providing emergency financial assistance, health and mental services, transportation and delivering food and supplies.

Dave Sheehan, a Regional Disaster Program Officer, is responsible for the Red Cross in Maine’s overall disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs for the state.  Carolyn Angeline, a two-year volunteer with the organization is on her second deployment.  Prior to this deployment, Carolyn traveled to Texas to assist in the flood relief efforts in June of 2015.

On Tuesday, the Blue Cut Fire began in San Bernardino County and has burned more than 31,600 acres with 4% containment.  An estimated 34,500 homes are threatened and mandatory evacuations are in place for more than 82,600 people.  Last night, the Red Cross operated three shelters, helping to provide a safe place to stay for 170 people in need. Red Cross disaster teams are continuing to monitor the situation and coordinate with local emergency management to prepare additional material and staffing resources as needed. 

The Red Cross is also closely monitoring and preparing resources for the following wildfires currently burning in California: 

Cedar Fire: 1,600 acres burned; 5% containment.

Clayton Fire: 3,900 acres burned; 55% containment. 

Chimney Fire: 8,300 acres burned; 30% containment. 

Soberanes Fire: 79,000 acres burned; 60% containment. 

The Red Cross is also closely monitoring the Roaring Lion Fire in Montana, the Pioneer Fire in Idaho and the Beaver Creek Fire in Colorado.

HOW TO HELP: This is a large relief response and the Red Cross needs the public’s support.  Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief.  People can donate by visiting MaineRedCross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. 


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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. Learn more at MaineRedCross.org, on Twitter (ARC_Maine), or Facebook (American Red Cross of Maine).