Even though conditions are improving out west, dangerous wildfires continue to burn. From the Rockies to the west coast, more than 100 fires are burning. Thousands of people are still evacuated and depending on the American Red Cross for assistance right now.
Thursday night, the Red Cross and our partners in California, Oregon and Washington provided some 7,400 people with safe refuge from the wildfires in emergency lodgings, including shelters and hotels. Since the fires started, the Red Cross and our partners have provided 163,000 total overnight stays in emergency lodgings.
Today some 1,300 Red Crossers are supporting disaster relief efforts on the ground or virtually. With the help of our partners, the Red Cross has served more than 462,000 meals and snacks, and distributed nearly 28,000 relief items including sifters, trash bags and masks. Volunteers have also provided more than 27,000 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs, as well as providing emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times.
In California, the Creek Fire is the largest single wildfire in the state and its heat created two “firenados” with winds more than 100 mph. The Bobcat Fire has forced thousands of people from their homes and consumed more than 113,000 acres. More than 4,700 people stayed in emergency lodgings Thursday night in California, including shelters and, in some cases, hotels. Since the fires started, more than 126,000 total overnight stays in emergency lodgings have been provided.
As many as 780 Red Cross disaster workers are helping evacuees both on the ground and virtually. The Red Cross and partners have served more than 282,000 meals and snacks in California, distributed more than 20,000 relief items and provided more than 20,000 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs, or provide emotional and spiritual support during these challenging times. This includes replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or other medical equipment.
In Oregon, more than 2,600 people stayed in emergency lodgings Thursday night, including shelters and, in some cases, hotels. Since the fires started, over 34,000 total overnight stays in emergency lodgings have been provided. Some 480 Red Cross disaster workers are helping evacuees both on the ground and virtually. The Red Cross and partners have served more than 167,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 5,500 relief items and provided more than 5,700 individual care contacts.
Red Cross support also continues in Washington where fire conditions have improved. Thursday night 50 people stayed in emergency lodgings, including shelters and, in some cases, hotels. Since the fires started, more than 2,200 total overnight stays in emergency lodgings have been provided.
As many as 50 Red Cross workers have provided more than 13,500 meals and snacks, distributed more than 2,000 relief items and more than 1,500 individual care contacts.
Red Cross disaster workers are supporting temporary evacuation points, which are sites dedicated to directing evacuees to the best sheltering option for their individual needs. Many evacuees are choosing to stay in RVs or tents. Anyone who has been affected by the fires is welcome to stop by a shelter to get a hot meal or access other support. Red Cross Integrated Care Condolence Teams are helping to coordinate services and provide support to families whose loved ones are missing, injured or deceased.
Fires are also burning in Idaho and Montana and the Red Cross is helping people impacted by these wildfires. Read two of their stories here.
In some areas, the Red Cross is beginning to connect one-on-one with people still in emergency lodgings to help plan for their next steps. In California, the Red Cross is also providing financial assistance for households whose primary residence was destroyed or sustained major damage from the recent wildfires.
Every disaster is different and so are the needs of each affected community and family. The Red Cross works closely with local partners to create plans and coordinate recovery services to ensure people get the assistance that they need to get back on their feet.
See one young couple’s story here. Read how Red Cross health services workers are helping here.
FINDING SHELTERS Evacuate immediately if asked to do so. Follow CDC guidelines around social distancing and wear a face covering to ensure that your evacuation is as safe as possible. To find a safe place to stay, listen to local officials for evacuation guidance including the nearest temporary evacuation point. You can also visit redcross.org or view open shelters through the Red Cross Emergency app. If you don’t have access to a computer or smart phone, try calling 211, if this service is available in your area, or call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).
Due to COVID-19, the Red Cross is unable to welcome pets into our shelters for everyone’s safety. If you are evacuating with pets, please consider visiting RedRover.org/WesternFires to view their resource list of pet-friendly evacuation shelters and tips.
YOU CAN HELP by making a donation, giving blood or becoming a Red Cross volunteer.
Help people affected by the western wildfires by visiting redcross.org, calling 800-RED CROSS or texting the words WILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.
Want to help people specifically affected by the California, Oregon or Washington wildfires? Write “California Wildfires,” “Oregon Wildfires” or “Washington Wildfires” in the memo line of a check and mail it to your local Red Cross chapter with the completed donation form. For California Wildfires you can also text the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review our most urgently needed volunteer positions at redcross.org/volunteertoday. More information is available here.
Recent disasters have only compounded ongoing challenges to maintaining a sufficient supply of blood products for hospital patients in need due to COVID-19. Blood drives have been canceled in unprecedented numbers during this pandemic as organizations, businesses and schools have temporarily closed or restricted access to these community locations where drives are held for the public.
To help restock hospital shelves, the Red Cross urges eligible individuals in parts of the country unaffected by these disasters to give blood, platelets or plasma for patients in need of transfusions. Please schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
When possible, the Red Cross partners with organizations that manage donations of goods as part of their primary mission. In all cases, due to health code regulations, the Red Cross cannot accept donations of homecooked meals or food items not prepared in a commercial kitchen.