As the climate crisis worsens, fire weather — what experts call the perfect storm combination of heat, drought and strong wind — and the time of year that these conditions are likely are both increasing across the globe.
Here in the U.S., experts report 40% of the country is still experiencing drought, especially in parts of the central Plains, Texas, Oregon, Utah and Montana. And although Californians have experienced a stormy winter with multiple atmospheric rivers, scientists don’t expect it to completely erase the state’s years-long drought in some areas. Plus, back in 2020, similar storms there spread wild vegetation — which later dried up and helped to fuel the worst wildfire season in state history.
May is Wildfire Awareness Month and the American Red Cross urges people who live in fire-prone areas to make their preparations now as they face the threat of another busy year.
HOW TO GET READY Most wildfires occur between June and August. Follow these steps to help make sure your family is prepared to either evacuate or shelter in place.
Download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
You can find more wildfire safety information here.
WILDFIRE PREVENTION Sadly, people cause 85% of wildfires by burning debris, using equipment improperly, discarding cigarettes carelessly, leaving campfires unattended or intentionally setting a fire. To help prevent wildfires, follow these critical tips:
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Because of the climate crisis, the Red Cross is now launching nearly twice as many relief operations for major disasters than we did a decade ago. This growing need for assistance is prompting us to increase our volunteer capacity so we can continue responding on a near-constant basis.
Our volunteers are at the heart of our mission and represent 90% of our workforce. Already across the country, they’re continuously on the ground, providing shelter, comfort, hot meals, health services and recovery support to families who are overwhelmed and have nowhere else to go. The need to help during disasters has never been greater. Join us to provide relief and hope when it matters most. Visit redcross.org/volunteertoday to sign up for opportunities with your local chapter.
Our most-needed disaster positions include supporting shelters and providing health services.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Support all the urgent humanitarian needs of the American Red Cross.
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Take a class and be ready to respond if an emergency strikes.