Red Cross Responds to Multiple Wildfires Throughout Northern California

A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)
A large flare-up from the Wragg Fire is seen in a photograph taken in rural Solano County, California on July 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Matthew Keys)

SACRAMENTO, CA (July 31, 2015) The American Red Cross Gold Country Region has spent the last several days responding to multiple wildfires throughout Northern California.  Thankfully, we’re ready to respond at a moment’s notice and we are prepared for what could be one of the worst wildfire seasons  that California has experienced.

“We know this is just a sneak peek into how bad the fires could be this season” said Lilly Wyatt, American Red Cross Communications Director. “With the extreme drought we’ve been experiencing for four years, we know the threat is there and we are ready to respond and assist our community.”

The Wragg Fire, which began on Wednesday, July 22, forced multiple evacuations around Solano and Yolo Counties. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Ave, Winters, CA, where evacuated residents can received lodging, meals, comfort and information. We accommodated five residents overnight, but had more than 20 fluctuating throughout the day as residents come and go.

Thursday July 23, more Red Cross volunteers were called into action to set up an evacuation center at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center, 2675 Sanders Drive, Pollock Pines, CA. for resident impacted by the Kybrurz Fire, which closed both directions of Highway 50. We

The Lowell Fire at the Nevada/Placer county lines exploded just as the Kyburz Fire was easing on Saturday, July 25 around 3pm. We opened a shelter in Grass Valley to support Nevada Country residents.  Eleven residents stayed at the shelter overnight and another 15 persons staying in the parking lot of the High School in camper’s cars and motorhomes.  Red Cross provided breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to 25 people while the shelter was opened.

​In the morning of Wednesday, July 29 another wild land fire erupted, this time in Butte County. Local government requested the Red Cross to set up an Evacuation Center and we were able to have it available within a couple of hours at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville CA. The evacuation center quickly transitioned into a full shelter to house seven individuals overnight.

Three different blazes sparked in Shasta County the evening of July 29. Although small in acreage they were threatening multiple homes and the Red Cross established a shelter at Anderson High School.

Also on July 29 a vegetation fire in the Groveland Area of Tuolumne County began burning heavy timber. The fire spread quickly and 65 homes were evacuated. At 8:00pm, Red Cross staff and volunteers established the evacuation center at Groveland Community Hall to have it ready for those who needed a comfortable place to rest.

In 2014, we responded to dozens of wildfires, more than ever before and 2015 is shaping up to be as bad as last year,” said Wyatt. “From July 1 to the end of September we had at least one shelter open except for just 18 hours.”

The Red Cross urges communities throughout California to get prepared for what will likely be a long and severe wildfire season. The Red Cross urges residents to follow all evacuation orders from local enforcement and be prepared for disasters like wildfires. All families should have an emergency game plan for disasters large and small. Make sure your home has an emergency kit ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Click here to learn more about preparing for and responding to wildfires.

Become a volunteer or make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donations can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and countless other crises 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. To donate, people can visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman
Courtesy of Wayne Freedman @WayneFreedman

Service to the Armed Forces Reconnection Workshop

Author: Fatima Yusuf (Summer Intern)

When soldiers return home, they can have a a joyous yet, sometimes a stressful time adjusting to their new life after service. While most military families are excited to see their beloved ones return from deployment, many are faced with the challenges of rebuilding relationships within their homes and community.

The American Red Cross in partnership with Walmart has been providing “Reconnection Workshops” for military families allowing for positive reunions for military families and their returning deployed military loved ones.

The workshops are free and are run by actively licensed and specially trained Red Cross mental health volunteers. Topics that are discussed include: managing anger, supporting children, post traumatic stress disorder, building communication, and other topics critical to reunion adjustment. This workshop is a complement of the “Red Cross Coping with Deployments: Psychological First Aid for Military Families” program which focuses on building resiliency and coping with challenges of the deployment cycle. Both programs have shown a remarkable amount of progress in providing service members and their families a tool to grow in terms of their relationships. The workshop in all it’s glory demonstrates how a positive environment to communicate can lead a long way in comforting our service members as they return back to their beloved homeland.

Tobrin Hewitt, Service to the Armed Forces Program Manager of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region shared his perspective on the program in an interview:

  1. Why is the “Reconnection Workshop” a program families should consider during the return of deployed military family members?

“A lot of service members return home from deployments and successfully readjust to their lives and within their community; however, some solders have a harder time transitioning back from the high tempo of a deployment. Some of the challenges that service members face include readjusting to their partners, engaging children, redefining the family routine, and managing health problems that can be present after deployment.”

  1. What is the most rewarding part of the program for most families?

“The tools that service members gain from these workshops which are instrumental in rebuilding positive relationships with their own families and society.”

  1. How is the program usually run and what can attendees expect from a session?

“The workshops are small groups (3-12) and they are 90 minutes long. One of five topics that will be discussed will be selected based on the needs of the individual group during each specific workshop session. Some important topics include communicating clearly, exploring stress and trauma, identifying depression, relating to children, and working through anger.”

  1. Is there anything crucial that the attendees should consider or prepare for before they attend a session?

“The workshops are geared towards participation so including service members personal experiences helps towards the overall effectiveness of the workshop.”

The workshop is available to all service members and their family members interested in seeking post-deployment support.

For more information visit our website or contact SAF Manager Tobrin Hewitt.

Three Months Later: Red Cross Recovery Efforts Ongoing in Nepal

RC in Nepal


Three months have passed since the devastating earthquake rocked Nepal and its aftershocks shook surrounding locations. The Red Cross is still there providing relief and helping to rebuild.

On April 25, 2015 Nepal was severely impacted by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake, which took the lives of many and left others homeless and in a state of helplessness.

Click the Infographic to enlarge

5.6 million people were affected, and of that number 17,932 people were injured and 8,856 people were killed. On top of the loss of lives 543,034 houses were destroyed.

To date nearly 8,000 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been deployed, and more than $13.6 million have been spent or committed to emergency relief and shelter and cash distribution.

With generous support and donations we have provided health services including medical care, first aid and psychosocial support; we’ve distributed more than 2.8 million liters of safe water, and more than 7,000 relief kits and hygiene kits have been distributed to Nepal survivors.

 This natural disaster was one of the largest to strike Nepal since 1934, and we will continue to do all that we can to assist with the restoration and rebuild of Nepal. Our primary areas of focus are food, water, shelter, health care and cash grants.

We are confident that we can extend our hand to aid in relief efforts.

Read some of the stories of the people impacted by this disaster:


A Family’s Plea to Prepare for a Home Fire

On Monday, February 23, 2015, little Sawyer White passed away when his Belleville home caught fire. A week and a half after the heartbreaking loss, Sawyer’s parents contacted the American Red Cross to get involved in the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign and participate in an upcoming smoke alarm install project that would be happening in their community.
On Saturday, March 14th, Danielle and Chris White worked with Char DeWitt, Gift Planning Officer and Kim Brown, volunteer/donor to install and educate families. The team of four joined 41 volunteers to install nearly 100 lifesaving smoke alarms replace batteries in current alarms.

Danielle and Chris said it is important for others to hear their story and to be part of the campaign because they are a “young family” and never prepared for a home fire. They are hopeful that by sharing their story, others will prepare.

Since the Gold Country Region launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign we have installed more than 1300 smoke detectors in and around the 24 county region. 

American Red Cross Urges Safety During Warm Weather

heat waveSacramento, CA., Tuesday, July 28, 2015-  We are expecting another heat wave that could reach the high triple-digit temperatures in the coming week. The American Red Cross is urging residents to use caution when venturing out into the hot weather. “We all want a summer to remember,” said Lilly Wyatt, American Red Cross Gold Country spokesperson. “Those memories can be pleasant by following simple tips to stay cool.”

The American Red Cross recommends following these simple rules when participating in outdoor activities during the warm Sacramento weather:

  • Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing
  • Drink water. Carry water or juice and carry it with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein which increase metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Take regular breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days.

HeatGuyThe American Red Cross also urges residents to take cautionary measures in recognizing heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. Lightly stretch the affected muscle and replenish fluids. Give a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not give liquids with alcohol or caffeine in them as they can make conditions worse.
  • Heat exhaustion: Get the person out of the heat and into a cooler place. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths. If the person is conscious, give cool water to drink. Give a half glass of water every 15 minutes. Let victim rest in a comfortable position, and watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.
  • Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life threatening condition and help is needed fast. Call 911 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by immersing the victim in a cool bath or wrap the victim in wet sheets while fanning him or her. Watch for signals of breathing problems and keep the person lying down while continuing to cool them any way you can. If the victim refuses water, is vomiting or there are changes in level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.

Call the American Red Cross Gold Country Region at (916) 993-7070 to register for First Aid and CPR/AED courses or register at today.

For more information on local Red Cross programs and services, visit our website, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Clara Barton For #TheNew10



The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced a redesign of the ten-dollar bill, to include a notable woman as the new face of the bill. Many minds at the Red Cross jumped immediately to our founder, Clara Barton. Here is a brief summary of who she was!

Barton is one of the most honored women in American history. She was a schoolteacher and also one of the first women to work for the federal government.


Risking her life, Barton offered support, food and supplies to soldiers who were fighting in the Civil War. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Barton used her expertise to help distribute relief supplies and set up stations where work could be done.

On May 21, 1881, Barton and a group of like-minded individuals founded the American Association of the Red Cross, and she led it for 23 years! The Red Cross received its first congressional charter in 1900 and a second in 1905.


Since then Barton published several books pertaining to the American Red Cross. She had a special interest for things that would promote a better future for all like education, prison reform, women’s suffrage, civil rights, and even spiritualism.


Barton has contributed so much to so many, and her devout love for humanity along with her willingness to serve others was revealed time and time again through her actions, and resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes.


For more information on the history of Clara Barton visit,

A Full Circle Moment

Thanks to Fox40 for sharing the work that we do at the American Red Cross and thanks to the Girl Scouts for putting extra love in making the kits.

We would like to share this special ‘full circle moment” that showcases how our work is impacting people every day.

Email from Jennifer Loncaric
Subject: What we do works. 

“I thought you might like this. That’s a note my daughter wrote when she helped make comfort kits with Jasmine a few months ago. The girl holding it was also there helping that day. She is Trina’s (my co-leader) step-daughter. Their house was burnt early Sunday morning after a mortar hit the front porch. We don’t know how long they will be displaced, but the Red Cross visited them today with some help. It’s a beautiful thing to see the joy on her face from something so small in such a tragic time for her family. I am overwhelmed with emotion knowing my girls have had such a local and personal impact.”

Thanks to the kind efforts of local girl scout troops, many families struck by home fires have received useful Red Cross Comfort Kits during such a stressful time in their lives. Jasmine Su an HSS instructor and Girl Scout troop leader helped to create these kits through the help of her troops. Here is a picture of one of her troop members holding a very heartfelt message which was addressed to the family that suffered from the tragedy.

We take much pleasure in sharing this moment to demonstrate the positive support of these young ladies during times of stress.

Red Cross Reminds Consumers About Free Spanish Apps to Help Keep Families Safe


Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, July 15, 2015 — The American Red Cross is launched six free Spanish-language apps for disasters and home emergencies with simple lifesaving information that will help keep families safe.


“The free Red Cross Spanish-language apps make mobile devices a lifeline for emergency information for families,” said Lilly Wyatt, Regional Communications & Marketing Director of the Gold Country Region Chapter. “The Red Cross wants as many people as possible to benefit from the crucial emergency information available via mobile apps.”


The six Spanish-language apps are the Red Cross First Aid, hurricane, tornado, earthquake,wildfire and flood apps. The Red Cross First Aid App gives people instant access to expert advice for everyday emergencies. The five Red Cross disaster preparedness apps give people local and real-time information for severe weather or disaster threats, and offer step-by-step instructions that let users know what to do before, during and after a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, wildfire and flood.


The Red Cross apps of special importance to people in Northern California are: First Aid, Emergency, Wildfire, Swim, Pet First Aid, Blood Donor and Youth.


The Red Cross apps have a feature that enables users to easily toggle between English and Spanish language on their app. Previously, users needed to set their entire phone language to either English or Spanish. The Red Cross, with its experience working with people during disasters, knows that people behave differently when under stress – such as a First Aid emergency or a weather emergency. In these times, people want to consume important information in the language they are most comfortable with. The Spanish toggle makes the life-saving information in the apps easier to get in emergency situations.


Each one of these Spanish-language apps are free and available for iPhones and Android devices in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. They can also be found at (English) or (Spanish).


All the apps offer pre-loaded content ensuring that Red Cross guidance is available anytime, anywhere – even if no Internet connection is available. Another important feature in the disaster preparedness apps allows users to let family and friends quickly know they are safe with a customizable “I’m Safe” alert for Facebook, Twitter, email and text. The apps also have interactive quizzes allow people to earn badges that they can share with friends on social networks.


The Red Cross created and released the six Spanish-language mobile at a time when smartphone use among Hispanics is surging. A 2013 study by the Pew Research Center found that Latinos own smartphones and go online from a mobile device at similar – and sometimes higher – rates than other groups of Americans.


“With natural disasters, it’s vital that people can receive and share warnings, preparedness information and their own status immediately with their social networks, and that’s what these Red Cross apps do,” Wyatt said. “If people can take only one step to make their family better prepared for disasters, they should download these free Red Cross apps and help their loved ones download them too.”


These six free Spanish-language apps build on the Red Cross legacy of teaching life-saving skills to people across the country. Overall, the award-winning Red Cross apps have been downloaded more than 4.7 million times.


The Red Cross is an established leader in teaching people the skills they need to survive life’s emergencies, and wants people to be ready to respond to emergencies and spread emergency information on their social networks, anywhere, anytime – even if they don’t have formal training.


While apps can prepare people for disasters, it’s important to remember that downloading any of the Red Cross apps is not a substitute for training. To learn more about Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses or to register, visit


About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross Gold Country Region serves 24 counties from San Joaquin to the Oregon Border and it’s a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RCSierraDelta or @RedCrossNECal.


A Red Cross Mission Moment

Truckee Air Show

Truckee Air Show

We arrived at the Truckee airport to a crisp cool early morning breeze,  setting up our easy – up tent, tables, literature,  color coded spinning wheel & prize selections.

 All routine tasks for a day of “questions & answers” relating to possible disasters in One’s community. The crowds were growing as we began our mission.

The music playing  was of 1930-1940 era. a few patriotic songs and a pledge of allegiance to begin the air show.

What was not routine was the beautiful sky, filled with wonderful sights of aircraft tricks and spins with incredible speed and ear piercing “roaring Jet engines”  that criss- crossed each other and flew  in very close precision formation.

It was thrilling, to say the least. The men and women of the military and civilian pilots alike were the heroes of the day.

I am guessing there were several hundred people in attendance if not a few thousand. We were kept busy most of the day with lots of Kids!  
The Red Cross Volunteers present were : Tami Martin, Beryl Mayne, Larry & Esther Bousquet of Truckee, Calif.

 A very pleasant day was had by all.


 From: Beryl Mayne

In the Eyes of a DAT Volunteer

Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee
Photo Credit: Heath Wakelee

Just when you though that Placer County would NEVER get another DAT call it happened early this morning.

At 1:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was our Disaster Program Manager (DPM) Tami Martin. Poor telephone connection but we finally communicated. I had been deep in sleep so it took me awhile to get dressed – out the door at 1:45 headed for the back hills of Auburn. Tami invited some others to respond and Arry Murphy said yes! OK – we were a team. I was pleased that Arry said yes. She had only limited experience with 901s, even less with CAS2.0 or DCSOps. But, when given a task, she plows ahead and asks good questions. Dependable, reliable, accurate, smiles, laughs, doesn’t take herself too seriously, all great attributes.

At 2:30 a.m. I finally arrived at a very busy scene. Probably 8 fire trucks all with flashing lights were easy to see once I got close to the address. I found the incident Commander and he pointed out one of the occupants (the wife). As is typical the front yard was strewn with household items that the firemen had been able to salvage.

The fire started in the garage of the one story ranch style home then quickly spread to the attic and across the whole home. After the fire reached the other end of the home, where the bedrooms were located, the home had filled with smoke and the smoke alarm finally went off. It certainly saved this family of three plus their four animals (1 dog, 3 cats). By the time the fire department reached this remote home, it was fully engulfed.

Arry and I learned that the family would stay with friends and that they had structural insurance so we provided them with food and clothing allowances plus comfort kits. The 7-year-old daughter was well behaved, but it looked like she would sleep for a week once she finally got into a bed.

We left at 4:00 a.m. with CAC card authorized and the clients very appreciative of our support. My take home… the mother’s smile. Genuine, sincere, caring, grateful. It was a good night.

I fell asleep at 5:30 a.m. after driving home, eating a toasted English muffin with peanut butter and finishing the paperwork.

For other DAT volunteers, if you have not done so already, ask about how to put your availability into DCSOps. If your not in DCSOps we don’t know about your availability. Need help, just ask. PLACER DAT ROCKS!!!

Best Regards, Heath Wakelee American Red Cross Volunteer Placer DAT Team Captain