More than 130 wildfires are burning across the country, the largest impacting thousands of people out west. In California alone, three fires have charred more than 278,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,600 structures. The American Red Cross is there, providing shelter, relief supplies and comfort for those affected.
In northern California, the Carr Fire near Redding, California, has burned more than 121,000 acres and is about 35 percent contained. The fire has destroyed 1,058 homes and is threatening thousands more. The Mendocino Complex Fire consists of the Ranch and River fires in Mendocino County. Together, the fires have burned as many as 90,912 acres, are threatening 12,200 structures and have destroyed seven residences. The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park in southern California has burned more than 63,798 acres. The fires have forced mandatory evacuations of thousands of people in California.
Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers are responding to these fires as well as blazes in Oregon and Nevada, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort. More than 780 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross and community shelters, most of them affected by the fires in the three states. The Red Cross has already provided thousands of meals and overnight shelter stays.
Red Cross caseworkers are continuing to meet with affected residents to connect them with available resources, while trained health and mental health workers are also providing support and referrals to thousands.
As evacuation orders are lifted in some areas and people return home, the Red Cross will continue working closely with state and local officials to ensure people get the help they need.
STAY IN TOUCH People can reconnect with loved ones through both the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell and by using the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App. The Safe and Well site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand including shelter locations and severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires and countless other crisis by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37864, Boone, IA 50037-0864.
You can also help people affected by the California wildfires. Donors can designate their donation to the California wildfires relief efforts and the Red Cross will honor donor intent. The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on redcross.org with your check. The Red Cross honors donor intent, and all donations earmarked for California wildfires will be used for our work to support these disasters.
WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS
BEFORE A FIRE OCCURS Remove anything that can catch fire from around your home, garage and outdoor shed, including firewood and propane tanks. If it’s flammable, keep it away from your house, deck or porch. Obey outside burning bans when issued. Other things you can do to be prepared include:
Keep your gutters and roofs clean. Remove dead vegetation and shrubbery from your yard. Keep your lawn hydrated.
Select building materials and plants that resist fire.
Make sure driveway entrances and your house number or address are clearly marked.
Set aside items that can be used as fire tools – a rake, axe, hand or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
Identify and maintain a good water source outside your home. Examples include a small pond, well or swimming pool.
IF A FIRE OCCURS Listen to your local media for updates on the fire and be ready to leave quickly. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape. You should also:
Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.
Arrange for a temporary place to stay outside the threatened area.
Keep your indoor air clean – close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.
Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else.
If smoke levels are high, don’t use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
AFTER THE FIRE Don’t go home until fire officials say it is safe. Be cautious entering a burned area – hazards could still exist. Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires. Other things to do include:
Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
Wet down debris to minimize breathing dust particles.
Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
Recheck for smoke or sparks throughout your home for several hours after the fire, including in your attic. Wildfire winds can blow burning embers anywhere so check for embers that could cause a fire.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: Adelson Family Foundation; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Brown & Brown, Inc.; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; ConocoPhillips; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Walt Disney Company.
ADGP $500,000 members are: 21st Century Fox; Altria Group; AmazonSmile; American Express; Aon; Capital One; CBS Corporation; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Foundation; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; LabCorp; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC; Southwest Airlines; Target; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; UPS; The USAA Foundation; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alliance Data; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; AXA; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; BMW of North America; Boise Paper; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Farmers Insurance; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; HSBC Bank; IBM Corporation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; Raytheon Company; Ryder; SC Johnson; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Stearns Bank; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.