As California braces for what could be its worst wildfire season ever due to an extreme drought and very dry conditions, fires burning in the northern part of the state are forcing people to leave their homes. The American Red Cross is on the ground, helping those affected.
The Tennant, Salt and Lava wildfires have scorched almost 44,000 acres in the state. The Tennant Fire is only 26% contained, the Salt Fire – 15% contained and the Lava Fire – 36% contained as of July 4. The National Interagency Fire Center reports so far this year there have been more than 31,000 wildfires across the country, burning more than 1.5 million acres.
Red Cross trained disaster workers are on the scene, providing food and shelter. Nearly 60 people stayed overnight Saturday in 6 shelters in northern California.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS Keep track of the weather, fires near you and listen to instructions from local authorities. Be ready to leave quickly with your emergency kit. You might not get an official notice to evacuate. Be ready to leave if local authorities tell you to evacuate, or if you feel you are in danger
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number are clearly marked so fire vehicles can get to your home.
- Shut all windows and doors. Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights. Shut off the air conditioning.
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, toys, trash cans).
- Turn off propane tanks. Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
- Back your loaded car into the driveway and keep all doors and windows closed.
- Ensure your emergency supplies kit is in your vehicle.
- Locate your pets and take them with you.
IF YOU NEED TO GO TO A SHELTER Follow any evacuation orders from officials. To find an open shelter, visit redcross.org or download the free Red Cross app “Emergency” and view open facilities. If you don’t have access to a computer or smart phone, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).
We encourage anyone coming to a Red Cross emergency shelter to bring personal items for each member of their family, including prescription and emergency medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. It’s also important to bring special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and other items for family members who have unique needs.
In addition to the free Red Cross app “Emergency”, the Red Cross First Aid app gives you instant access to information on handling common first aid scenarios, including heat emergencies. Download for free here or search for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store.
RED CROSS WILL PROVIDE SAFE SHELTER The Red Cross will continue to make sure people have a safe place to stay, food to eat and resources to help them recover after a disaster, a critical part of the Red Cross mission, but how we support sheltering efforts may be different in each community, depending on local emergency plans and the scale of the disaster. In most cases this year, we will open group shelters. However, in some communities, hotels may still be more appropriate if the risk of COVID-19 is particularly high. The Red Cross will also keep many of the safety precautions implemented in 2020. These include masks, health screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and encouraging social distancing.