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.
The 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 with shelter and medical attention.
Holly Keller, a former resident of Paradise, brought her two horses to the livestock shelter and is also a volunteer of NVADG. Holly used her experience from the 2008 fire evacuation to act quickly in evacuating her horses from the recent fire.
Holly is very proud of the support that the livestock area of the shelter has received. She encouraged anyone seeking to make a donation, to make a financial contribution or to offer grass hay, to call 530-895-0000 to inquire about the supplies needed for the day.
John Madigan, the coordinator of the UC Davis Veterinary Emergency Response Team (VERT), supports the NVADG by proving medical attention to the animals. Dr. Madigan is grateful for the medical supplies donated. He urges those with large animals to plan and to not take a chance with their safety.
At the request of the Red Cross and Butte County, the Butte Fair Grounds shelter information desk is being supported by the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Emergency Services. Assistant Emergency Coordinator Neil “Buck” Bossard listens for live reports on the fire and maintains contacts with others radio responders.
Buck, a volunteer, recalls being guided out to safety by a radio operator when his car was surrounded in flames in the Butte/Valley fire a few years ago. When asked about his memories of that day, Buck recalled, “I remember everything. I will never forget the volunteers that helped me in my time of need.”
At the Butte County Fair Grounds Shelter, the American Red Cross is honored to work alongside NVADG, UC Davis VERT, Birch Valley Ranch Equestrian School, Californian state volunteers, and the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Radio Emergency Services to offer those fleeing the fire shelter, food, housing, and accommodations for their livestock.
The Red Cross is working hard to continue to partner with local organizations and broaden the resources available to those affect by the recent fire.
Story Written by Amy Fuente, American Red Cross volunteer