Written By Caroline Nilsson, Red Cross Volunteer
Sequoia, aged six, and Twyla, aged nine, had never heard of the American Red Cross. But when heavy smoke from the Happy Camp Fire Complex descended upon their rural Northern California home in Siskiyou County, the became fast friends of the Red Cross at an evacuation shelter in Yreka.
“The smoke was scary,” said Sequoia. “Everything turned completely yellow outside.” Sequoia isn’t scared at the shelter. Here, she’s having fun playing board games with shelter staff, making cupcakes out of modeling clay, and building towers out of anything she can commandeer. She also likes drinking the hot chocolate.
Her older sister, Twyla, is still a little worried. She hopes her family’s house is going to be okay, but she’s also happy to be at the shelter. “I really like being here. The people are nice, there’s lots of room to play, good food, and we were allowed to bring our animals with us.”
There’s a veritable menagerie outside. There are four dogs and three cats, most of them rescue animals with stories to tell. Siskiyou County has provided crates and food, so they seem to be quite happy, too.
Sequoia and Twyla both enjoy drawing, and they have decorated the inside of the shelter with pages from coloring books and original art. There are pictures of horses and dolphins, puppies and teddy bears, and there is a whole collection of fashion illustrations. It’s proving to be a great pastime while they wait for the fire to pass, and the shelter staff is enjoying their work. Twyla says she is inspired by her mother’s artwork. Sequoia simply likes to draw.