American Red Cross Issues California Wildfire 1- and 2-Year Report

46199329612_92a96b9053_cOver the last two years, multiple devastating wildfires have brought disruptive evacuations, terrifying escapes and heart-wrenching losses to families across California. For months on end, relentless blazes—including the deadliest and most destructive wildfires ever seen in the state—threatened cities, towns and rural areas, forever changing lives.

Whether in Paradise or Santa Rosa, Ventura County or suburban Los Angeles, I’m proud that, wherever there was suffering, dedicated American Red Cross workers were there, bringing vital aid to tens of thousands of wildfire survivors.

Powered by the remarkable generosity of our donors, they helped deliver safe shelter, food, water and essential supplies for individuals and families in need, along with health services, emotional support, spiritual care and more.

Thanks to our donors, we’ve provided millions of dollars in financial assistance to meet the urgent needs of residents who lost homes and belongings to the flames. We’ve also awarded millions more in grant assistance to partners doing important work in the affected communities—from rebuilding homes, to providing mental health services for survivors and preparedness training for children and their families.

Gail McGovern

American Red Cross President an CEO

(Excerpt from California Wildfires: 2017-2018 ONE & TWO-YEAR UPDATES)

Click on the links below to learn more about the American Red Cross efforts to assist those affected by wildfires in California over the last two years.

California Wildfires 1- and 2-Year Update

American Red Cross Long-Term Recovery Program: What Is It?

American Red Cross Year-End Appeal

year End appeal

pic2Our work is powered by a workforce of more than 90% volunteers and generous public donations. The Red Cross is proud that an average of 90 cents of every dollar we spend is invested in delivering care and comfort to those in need. Your financial support can make a lifesaving difference.

From disasters like the Camp and Carr fires to support for veterans’ families and those displaced by home fires, your donations helped us provide services to so many people during 2019 Impact Report.

Please take a moment to read our Year-End Appeal and download a Regional Donation Form. As a faithful partner, you can help us deliver hope and help to thousands of people in the year ahead!

Thank you!

Camp Fire Reflections: The Power of Partnerships During a Major Disaster

When the Red Cross is involved in a disaster response, partnerships with local organizations are key to successfully meeting the needs of the many displaced residents who come to us seeking shelter, care and hope.

As the first anniversary of the Camp Fire is just a day away, we wanted our readers to look back at this story about the commitment of several community partners who helped relay information around the territory and care for the many displaced livestock and pets.

Gold Country News and Notes

Through successful collaboration between the American Red Cross and five local organizations — North Valley Animal Disaster Group, University of California Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team, Birch Valley Ranch Equestrian School, Gridley FFA, Chico FFA, County and Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Emergency Services — the Butte County Fair Grounds shelter in Gridley, California, has become a safe haven for families, farm animals and those with domestic pets.

The Red Cross continues to support the shelter with volunteers providing food and emotional support. Volunteers have welcomed hundreds of displaced community residents who have no place to go. The shelter, which is located south of the Camp Fire, is still open to all those seeking shelter and resources.

PARTNER_Collaboration2The North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG) continues taking in livestock and is working with the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team, as well as the Birch Valley Ranch Equestrian School, to provide the animals…

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Four Heroes and an Unforgettable Bus Ride to Save Their Students

On October 16, 2019, the American Red Cross in Greater New York and Friese Foundation honored Kevin McKay, Mary Petersen Ludwig, Abigail Gerspacher-Davis and Allyn Pierce for their heroic actions in helping students and patients evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

Their story made headlines around the world.

This week, the Gold Country Region is reflecting on the people who were directly affected by the Camp Fire, and the many Red Cross volunteers and staff who worked tirelessly to help them in their recovery.

A Red Cross Volunteer Earns Her Wings

As we reflect on all that happened during and after the Camp Fire of 2018, we at the Red Cross are reminded of the critical role our disaster spiritual care volunteers had in helping people displaced by the wildfire as they processed the enormity of California’s largest and most destructive fire. Take a look at the story of volunteer Cynthia Bellina. #campfire

Gold Country News and Notes

When Paul Royce, known to the locals as “Turtle,” lost his home in the fire that devastated Paradise, California, he was really was at a loss as to what he would do next.  “I’ve lived in communes, and I’ve lived on the road, but right now, I haven’t a clue as to where I’ll be.  I have absolutely nowhere to go.”

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Red Cross Disaster Spiritual Care Volunteer, Cynthia Bellina, heard about Turtle’s dilemma at the Red Cross shelter in Chico and knew she had to act. “Turtle needed that little extra care. He’s lived the most interesting and exciting life. In listening to his stories about his life I could understand his need for independence and his zest for life. I just couldn’t say no. I knew I had to help; I just had to!”

Bellina wasted no time. Turtle wanted to relocate to the Grass Valley in California. So…

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Red Cross Monitors Fires Across State as Fall Fire Season Takes Shape

As much of California continues to wait for power to be restored during the Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), we saw some 275 fires break out across the state Thursday.

Here in the Gold Country Region, Disaster Program Manager Patricia Davis is representing the Red Cross at the State Operations Center as we monitor developments statewide.

Of note are the Sandlewood Fire in the Desert to the Sea Region and the Saddleridge Fire in the Los Angeles Region.

Desert to the Sea opened a shelter with an overnight population of 16.  They have a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) up and running and have all of the resources they need, according to Division Disaster Executive Denise Everhart.

The Los Angeles Region has opened four shelters, two of which have reached capacity and they are prepared to open more.

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“While it may seem that wildfires are a way of life in California in the fall, people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night, the smoke is affecting everyone, and the fear is real,” noted Everhart in message to Pacific Division leadership.

“Some people have lost everything, but as always, the Red Cross is there helping alleviate suffering in the face of these wildfires by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.​”

With these developments comes this guidance from the American Red Cross: Be prepared. Disasters unfold very quickly and can leave little time for last-minute decision-making if you are forced to evacuate.

Be Prepared

Wildfires can be nearly as impossible to prevent, and as difficult to control, as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. The fall wildfire season typically begins mid-October and continues through December. Fires can happen any time of year, but there is a higher risk during this period because of low-humidity and other fire-conducive conditions.

With millions of homes near woodlands, the American Red Cross offers tips on what to do if a wildfire threatens so you can better protect yourself and your loved ones.

WILDFIRE SAFETY STEPS

A wildfire can spread very quickly, giving you little time to evacuate to safety. 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.

  • Inspect the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. Wildfires may have left embers that could reignite.
  • For several hours afterward, recheck for smoke and sparks throughout the home, including the attic. Keep checking your home for embers that could cause fires.

DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 customizable severe weather and emergency alerts. 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.

If you would like to support the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts with a financial donation, please visit redcross.org.