On Friday, July 31, 2020, the Apple Fire broke out in Riverside County. The fire spread quickly, fanned by high winds, triple-digit temperatures and dry terrain. Soon after, local officials contacted the American Red Cross to provide assistance for thousands forced to leave their homes under mandatory evacuation orders. Immediately, Red Cross volunteers jumped into action.
Red Cross volunteers established a Temporary Evacuation Point at Beaumont High School, where those affected by the fire could find assistance. Friendly volunteers welcomed evacuees, providing them with food, hydration, health services and access to emergency lodging at nearby hotels. Once safely at these hotels, those affected by the Apple Fire received constant care from Red Cross volunteers, who provided daily health checks, disaster mental health support, and who delivered breakfast, lunch and dinner to each hotel room.
After evacuation orders were lifted in Riverside County, many were able to return home and the Temporary Evacuation Point at Beaumont High School was closed, moving instead to a virtual Temporary Evacuation Point model. Red Cross volunteers continue to assist families who are still impacted by evacuation orders in San Bernardino County. As we continue to monitor the fire, Red Cross volunteers remain ready to provide additional assistance if needed.
The Red Cross and partners have served over 1,800 meals and snacks and provided more than 300 overnight hotel stays in 137 hotel rooms since the Apple Fire began. All services are being delivered in accordance with COVID-19 safety precautions.
The local Red Cross is dedicated to helping those affected by disasters. We work closely with emergency management partners to coordinate relief efforts. Trained Red Cross volunteers and staff are on call around the clock and are ready to assist in various aspects of disaster response and recovery, including sheltering, feeding, disaster assessment, casework and more.
WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS
- A wildfire can spread very quickly, giving you little time to get out of the area safely. Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Obey evacuation orders from officials.
- Back your car into the garage or park it outside in the direction of your evacuation route.
- Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust - keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor pollution such as candles, fire places and gas stoves.
- If you are trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.
- Do not put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose. Moist air causes more damage to airways than dry air at the same temperature.
- If there is no body of water, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks. Lie flat, face down, and cover your body with soil. Breathe the air close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs or inhaling smoke.
- Do not return home until officials say it is safe to do so.
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe with real-time alerts, shelter locations and safety advice on wildfires. The Red Cross First Aid App provides instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. Download these apps for free by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
VOLUNTEER Sign up to volunteer with the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org/volunteer. Get trained now so you will be ready to respond to disasters in your community.