What to Do If a Wildfire Threatens

Wildfires-Header-jpgWildfire season has been a year-round threat in California due to the extreme four-year drought. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC), almost 20 large fires are burning now and more than 100 new fires have been reported.

The American Red Cross is helping people impacted by several fires burning in the Golden State and offers safety tips on how to better protect yourself and your loved ones from a wildfire.

Currently, the Gold Country region alone has been operating two shelters in Trinity County due to the Mad River Complex Fires and the Fork Complex Fires.

WILDFIRE SAFETY

  • Learn about wildfire risks in your area or the region where you are planning to vacation.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to learn more about wildfires and set up alerts.
  • Talk with members of your household about wildfires – how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
  • Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
  • Identify someone who is out of the area to contact if local phone lines are not working.
  • Post emergency numbers by every phone, or enter them into your cell phones.
  • Make a plan and practice it. Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood or vacation area in case your primary route is blocked.
  • Firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet uphill from your home or camping spot. Clear combustible material within 20 ft. of the stack. Fire tends to travel uphill, so keep highly combustible firewood and other materials above your home or vacation area.

IF A WILDFIRE THREATENS

  • Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room or spot so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP

The free Emergency App is highly customizable and informative with alerts, vital emergency information and a “Family Safe” feature to notify loved ones that an alert has been issued in their area and check to see if they are safe. Find it in your app store by searching for American Red Cross.

HOW TO HELP

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 www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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.”

WRAGG FIRE
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.

KYBURZ FIRE
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

LOWELL FIRE
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.

SWEDE’S FLAT FIRE
​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.

CHINA, HAPPY AND MALLARD FIRES
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.

BIG CREEK FIRE
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.”

BE PREPARED
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.

HOW TO HELP
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 www.redcross.org, 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