Red Cross teams continue to support counties, residents affected by lightning-caused fires

Most recent update: Thursday, September 17, at 10:30 a.m. 

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Red Cross volunteer Ken Everson helps unload a truck full of emergency supplies in Napa. We continue to add other photos to our regional Flickr album related to this disaster response. (Thanks to our volunteer photographers!)

The severe lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region and other parts of the state earlier this month caused a number of large and destructive fires in our chapter areas, prompting quick responses by our region’s Red Cross teams.

Working alongside government and community partners, we have helped provide shelter, food, and comfort for people forced to leave their homes with little notice to flee these wildfires.

As of Tuesday night, we were supporting or operating 1 congregate (traditional) shelter and 10 non-congregate sites (in hotels or similar facilities) throughout our region. That was in response to fires that had burned more than 965,000 acres, destroyed or damaged almost 3,600 structures, and forced the evacuation of more than 2,300 people.

More than 200 Red Crossers are working around the clock to provide food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to the thousands of people affected by the wildfires. We will be there for as long as it takes.

As of Wednesday night:

  • The Red Cross and our partners provided more than 1,600 people in our region with refuge from the wildfires with emergency lodgings, including shelters and, in some circumstances, hotels. To date, the Red Cross and our partners have provided emergency lodging to more than 69,000 people within our region during the wildfire response.

  • With the help of partners, the Red Cross has provided more than 56,000 meals and snacks, and distributed nearly 22,200 disaster relief items including comfort kits and other emergency supplies to people in need.

  • Volunteers have also provided more than 8,100 individual care contacts to help people with medical or disability needs or provide emotional and spiritual support during this challenging time.

Here are the individual wildfires and wildfire complexes within our region — and how we are currently supporting affected counties and residents:

LNU Lightning Complex: The Lightning Complex is made up of the Hennessey, Gamble, 15-10, Spanish, Markley, 13-4, 11-16, and Walbridge Fires, which have affected Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties in our region and Yolo and Lake Counties outside our region. As of Wednesday night, these fires had burned 363,220 acres and were at 97% containment. As of late Wednesday:

  • In Sonoma County, the Red Cross was continuing to support 1 non-congregate shelter.
  • In Solano County, the Red Cross was continuing to support 1 non-congregate shelter.
  • CalFire incident web site

SCU Lightning Complex: This originally comprised approximately 20 fires between Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties. As of Wednesday night, these fires had burned 396,624 acres and were at 98% containment. As of late Wednesday:

CZU August Complex: As of Wednesday night, this fire — forcing widespread evacuations in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties — was at 86,509 acres and 93% contained. As of late Wednesday:

  • A Local Assistance Center had opened at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz with hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
  • Also in Santa Cruz County, the Red Cross was supporting 1 congregate shelters with partners.
  • In San Mateo County, the Red Cross is currently supporting 2 non-congregate shelters with partners.
  • CalFire incident web site

River, Carmel, and Dolan Fires, Monterey County: As of Wednesday night, the River Fire was at 100% containment, the Carmel Fire was at 100% containment, and the Dolan Fire was up to 122,178 acres at 40% containment. As of late Wednesday:

  • Also in Monterey County, the Red Cross continued to support 1 non-congregate shelter sites.
  • There are numerous and extensive evacuation orders and warnings throughout the Region, as well as many being lifted daily. Please reference CalFire incident web site for the latest in evacuation orders, warnings, and situational awareness.
  • While the Red Cross is not able to accept in-kind donations of materials (see Related Information, below), please go to this organization in Monterey County for information about this.
  • CalFire incident web site (River Fire)
  • CalFire incident web site (Carmel Fire)

Woodward Fire, Marin County: As of Wednesday night, 4,920 acres had burned with 96% containment.

Here is a comprehensive list of virtual local assistance center and wildfire information pages for impacted counties.

The status of shelters can change rapidly during a disaster. If you are unsure about the location of open shelters in your area, please go to redcross.org/shelter.

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Other recent updates:

  • American Red Cross Volunteer, Anne Johnson, saw a client’s needs all the way through. Read her story.
  • An award-winning actor made sure to volunteer, too. You can read his story here.
  • Dennis Patterson of Santa Cruz evacuated then moved from backyard to backyard with his tent until he found safe shelter with the Red Cross. Read his story here.
  • Vacaville area resident Karen Stickler, her husband, and their dog fled their home because of the LNU Fire, eventually finding a Red Cross shelter where they received care and comfort. Read their story.
  • Waiting to learn the fate of her own home, which was in the path of the CZU Fire, Linnea Dunn did what brings great satisfaction to her: She helped others as a Red Cross volunteer. Read her story.
  • In a message to American Red Cross volunteers in the Northern California Coastal Region, CEO Jennifer Adrio expresses her gratitude for the work that so many — from inside and outside our region — are doing as part of this large disaster response. She also saluted the many Red Crossers for the mission-critical work they are continuing to do outside of this DR.
  • KPIX-TV (CBS, Channel 5 in the Bay Area) hosted a telethon on Monday, August 24, to raise vital funds for the Red Cross’ California Wildfire Disaster Relief work. Even though the broadcast portion of the telethon is over, people could still participate in this fundraising event by calling 1-855-848-GIVE (4483) or by making an online donation via this special Red Cross site, through Monday, August 30. We are so thankful for the partnership with KPIX and for the generosity of the many donors who participated in this important fundraising effort!

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Other related information from the American Red Cross:

  • If you’ve been affected by any of these fires and are in need of assistance, please call us 24/7 at 1-800-RedCross (1-800-733-2767) . All assistance is free, thanks to the work of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors.
  • Stay connected with loved ones by visiting the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell to reconnect with loved ones. The site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe or to search for loved ones. You can also use the “I’m Safe” feature of the Red Cross Emergency App to let loved ones know your status. The free App — which also has other very useful features — is available for smartphones and tablets; just go to redcross.org/apps.
  • This regional press release summarizes some of our early work during this Disaster Response and provides disaster preparation and COVID-safety tips. See release.
  • How has our Red Cross disaster response work been modified because of the pandemic? See this story.
  • How to prepare for disasters, including additional steps during COVID. See this story.
  • It’s easy to overlook the mental health needs of people affected by fires. In this regional press release, we provide tips on how to cope — and help others cope — with the stress. See release.
  • For the safety of our shelter residents and workers, the Red Cross is unable to accept in-kind or material donations of any kind right now. Due to increased safety measures for COVID-19, storing, sorting, cleaning and distributing donated items could be especially risky.
  • But you can support our disaster-response work in two other very important ways: Become a Red Cross volunteer and/or make a financial donation.
    • Become a volunteer: Please consider getting trained as a Shelter Worker so that you can help us help others during wildfires and other large disasters. For more information and/or to start your application process; just go today to redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html.
    • Make a financial donation: Just go here and designate your gift for Disaster Relief. Thank you so very much!

We are very, very appreciative of our volunteer, donor, and partner support during these fire responses. It’s a real team effort!

For other stories related to this disaster response, please go to this site.

We will keep this blog post as up to date as is possible, throughout this Disaster Response. We are updating it at least once a day (and sometimes more often). So please check back regularly. And please share this important information with others as needed. Thank you!