Thousands Seek Shelter from Deadly California Fires

By American Red Cross, Special for  USDR

The American Red Cross is on the ground in California, working with officials and disaster partners to help people impacted by the nearly two dozen devastating wildfires burning across the region in what is now the deadliest week of fires in the state’s  history.

Thousands of firefighters are battling the blazes and continued dry, windy conditions are making it difficult to contain the fires. According to officials, more than 100,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders, and as many as 33,000 homes are threatened. Preliminary reports indicate 3,500 structures, including 1,300 homes, have already been destroyed by out-of-control fires. It has been reported that hundreds are injured, and some 500 are reported  missing.

RED CROSS RESPONSE Red Cross disaster workers are supporting evacuation centers where people can find safe refuge from the fires, a hot meal, health services, emotional support and help reconnecting with loved ones. Overnight, nearly 5,000 people sought refuge from wildfires in 58 Red Cross and community shelters across  California.

With the help of partners, the Red Cross has served more than 20,000 meals and snacks, and provided more than 1,100 mental health and health services to support and care for those affected. More than 430 Red Cross disaster workers are helping now, with an additional 190 on the way. Thousands of additional cots, blankets and relief items have been mobilized in the event that additional shelters are  needed.

If someone needs to find a shelter or other help, they should follow their local media or go to and check the shelter map. People can also find a shelter by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts wildfire safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique  needs.

HELPING LOVED ONES REUNITE Hundreds of residents of the impacted neighborhoods have not yet been located and the Red Cross Safe and Well website is playing a role in reuniting loved ones. More than 4,300 people affected by the wildfires have already registered on the  site.

Safe and Well is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available and open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. Visit the Safe and Well at to reconnect with loved  ones.

People can also use the Red Cross Emergency App’s “I’m Safe” button to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s  way.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Entire communities and families have been left reeling from these wildfires. Help people affected by the California wildfires by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to relief efforts for the Californiawildfires by choosing that option when donating on or on 1-800-RED CROSS, or by texting the word CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10  donation.

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery  process.

ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; ConocoPhillips; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa  Foundation.

ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; LabCorp; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells  Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Astellas USAFoundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and  Visa.

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 is 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, or visit us on Twitter at  @RedCross.

SOURCE American Red  Cross

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