Red Cross works with partners to support residents affected by Pawnee Fire

Media Contact:
Kathryn Hecht
917-805-7241 |

24-Hour Media Hotline:
855-559-0333 |


This family’s children watch as their parents receive much-needed supplies from the Red Cross. (Photo: Russell Cole)

SANTA ROSA, CA (July 2, 2018) — The American Red Cross continues to support Lake County communities as residents there cope with the aftermath of the Pawnee Fire, which erupted in late June.

  • As of this date, the fire had already burned 14,700 acres and was 75 percent contained. To date, 22 structures have been destroyed and 6 more damaged.

Alongside partners, Red Cross disaster workers has provided food, emergency relief supplies, and support to people whose lives have been turned upside-down by this wildfire.

  • To date, Red Cross and partners have
    • provided more than 30 overnight stays
    • served nearly 500 meals and nearly 1,000 snacks
    • distributed nearly 600 relief supplies
    • provided more than 200 health services contacts and more than 35 mental health contacts
  • Red Cross emergency response vehicles distributed fresh meals and relief supplies to people in the hardest-hit communities devastated by Pawnee Fire.
  • These supplies are free, and included water, an ice chest, heater meals, and clean-up items such as gloves, trash bags and dust masks.
  • Red Cross disaster workers also provided health services such as replacing lost medications and eyeglasses, and emotional support.

The Red Cross is working with community partners to help residents move through the recovery process by connecting them to critical services and resources they need to get back on their feet.

  • Red Cross caseworkers are meeting one-on-one with people providing them an opportunity to share their needs, ask questions, and—for those who qualify—obtain financial assistance.
  • Recovering from a disaster can be a confusing, emotionally draining and complicated process. Red Cross caseworkers are trained to help people create recovery plans and connect people with the services and resources they need.
  • Some of the community partners we are working with include Tzu Chi Foundation, Salvation Army, Lake County Animal Control and Lake County Social Services.

You can help people affected by disasters big and small, like the California wildfires and countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief.

  • Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


Wildfires are causing heavy smoke and poor air quality in many areas of California. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. Stay alert to smoke-related news coverage or health warnings.
  • If it looks smoky, it’s probably not a good time to exercise outdoors, conduct other outdoor activities or for your children to play outside. Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.
  • Keep your indoor air clean – close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.
  • Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else.
  • If smoke levels are high, don’t use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
  • Avoid vacuuming, as this can stir up particles already inside your home.
  • If you have asthma or another lung disease, follow your health care provider’s advice. Seek medical care if your symptoms worsen.
  • Use a freestanding indoor air filter with particle removal to help protect people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions and the elderly and children from the effects of wildfire smoke. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on filter replacement and where to place the device.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke.

Don’t go home until fire officials say it is safe. Be cautious entering a burned area – hazards could still exist.

  • Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires.
  • Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
  • Wet down debris to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
  • Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Recheck for smoke or sparks throughout your home for several hours after the fire, including in your attic. Wildfire winds can blow burning embers anywhere, so check for embers that could cause a fire.

This post is based on a press release that the Red Cross distributed on June 25, 2018. The post has been updated several times as new information has become known.


About American Red Cross of the California Northwest:
With office locations in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma counties, the American Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian organization that depends on the generous contributions of time and money from residents and companies to provide services and programs that help our community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. For more information, visit our website at or call us at 1-707-577-7600. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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