Tag Archives: North Bay

Shelter from the (fire)storm

Vacaville area couple, evacuated because of the LNU Fire, finds care and comfort at a Red Cross shelter

By Marcia Antipa


Karen Stickler, her husband, and their dog found comfort and caring in a safe Red Cross shelter in Vacaville. (Photo: Kathleen Maclay)

It was the middle of the night on August 18, and Karen Stickler was sound asleep in the rural Vacaville home she had shared with her husband, Dave, for 30 years. It was a hot, windy night, and the power had gone out earlier that day in their neighborhood. Then, just before midnight, the phone rang.

“My husband said to me, ‘Get up. We have to leave now.’”

That night, the LNU Complex Fire – sparked by an unusual lightning storm – tore through five Northern California counties, destroying almost 1,000 structures and forcing many more evacuations. Read more

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

Most recent update: Monday, September 21, at 10:30 a.m. (this update is in progress right now) 


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!)

Background: The severe lightning storms that swept through our Northern California Coastal Region and other parts of the state last 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.

By the numbers:

  • On Friday night, we provided nearly 1,800 overnight shelter and hotel stays with our partners. To date, more than 73,000 emergency overnight stays have been provided to those impacted by the wildifres.
  • Since August 17, we have served more than 58,000 meals and snacks with our partners.
  • Red Cross volunteers have made more than 8,500 individual care contacts since August 17.
  • This is in response to fires that had burned almost 1 million acres, destroyed or damaged almost 3,600 structures, and forced the evacuation of more than 1,800 people.
  • Almost 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.

Here is information about the wildfires 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 Saturday morning, these fires had burned 363,220 acres and were at 98% containment. As of late Thursday:

    • 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 Saturday morning, these fires had burned 396,624 acres and were at 98% containment. As of late Thursday:

CZU August Complex: As of Sunday night, this fire — forcing widespread evacuations in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties — was at 86,509 acres and 99% contained. As of late Thursday:

    • 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 and Carmel, and Dolan Fires, Monterey County: As of Monday morning, the River Fire was at 100% containment, the Carmel Fire was at 100% containment, and the Dolan Fire was up to 128,416 acres at 46% containment. As of late Thursday:

    • 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)
    • Incident Information System web site (Dolan Fire)

Woodward Fire, Marin County: As of Friday, 4,929 acres had burned with 97% containment.

Here is a comprehensive list of wildfire information pages for impacted counties.


Stories that describe the great work our volunteers have done in support of the people affected by these fires:

  • BreAnna Sanabria deployed to Northern California as a volunteer from Highland, CA, and felt the power of simply sharing a smile. Read her story.
  • 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.

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

A message to our (amazing) volunteers:

  • 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.

Regional TV telethons help the Red Cross help the many people affected by wildfires:

  • 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. People were able to 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!
  • KGO-TV (ABC, Channel 7 in the Bay Area) hosted a telethon on Thursday, September 17, to raise vital funds for the Red Cross’ Western Wildfire Disaster Relief work. The telethon was done in coordination with other ABC stations, including those in Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Eugene, and Spokane. Viewers were able to participate in this fundraising event by calling 1-866-499-GIVE (4483) or by making an online donation via this special Red Cross site. We are so thankful for the partnership with Disney/ABC and for the generosity of the many donors who participated in this important fundraising effort!
  • Upcoming: KSBW-TV (NBC/ABC, Channel 8 in the Central Coast) will host a telethon on Tuesday, September 22, to raise vital funds for the Red Cross’ California Wildfire Disaster Relief work. The telethon will take place on from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (PST) and will be referenced on air during the station’s newscasts at 5 and 6 a.m. and at 12, 5, 6, and 11 p.m. Tune in during those times to view coverage of our response efforts and hear from our Red Cross supporters. Help us help the many people affected by wildfires by calling 1-855-848-GIVE (4483) anytime during the telethon or by making an online donation via this special Red Cross site. Thank you!


Other related information from the American Red Cross:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • During a disaster, 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.
  • You can support our disaster-response work in two 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!

We will keep this blog post as up to date as is possible for the time being. So please check back regularly. And please share this important information with others as needed. Thank you!

Once a client, now chair of the board

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Rebecca Taylor-Ford and husband, Joe, at the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade in 2016.

Rebecca Taylor-Ford recently began her second year in service as Board Chair for the North Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross. She stepped into the role in 2019 after several years of volunteering for the Red Cross in various capacities. According to her peers, she leads with a light touch and a self-assuredness that are well-earned from personal and professional experience.

It turns out that Rebecca was also once a Red Cross client.

In 2014, Rebecca and her family survived a house fire that destroyed their home. When the Red Cross showed up, a team member helped walk the family through immediate and long-term recovery, one step at a time.

Read more

Northern California Coastal Region supports vets with comfort kits

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SAF Director Go Funai, Kathleen Lenihan, Marilyn Byington, Leeann Woodward, and Julianna Jaynes deliver comfort kits to the San Francisco VA Medical Center.  Photo: Nanette Shamieh | American Red Cross

The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered more than a few activities, but it has also spawned a number of opportunities. For example, shelter in place orders forced the canceling of several stand downs. A stand down is an event hosted for veterans where they can avail themselves of a variety of resources in one place. Resources include medical and dental treatment as well as haircuts in a safe and secure temporary environment.

Each veteran attending receives a comfort kit. These kits typically include a toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, shaving cream, razor, shampoo, etc. According to Kathleen Lenihan, a retired Army Officer and Service to Armed Forces volunteer, “Walmart and other generous partners donate money, goods or make the kits.”

And with the cancellation of stand downs, a number of kits that were going unused.

Read more

Thank you, once more, to our incredible volunteers!

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Volunteers are the lifeline of the American Red Cross, providing critical services such as educating clients on home fire prevention. (Photo: Samar M. Salma; American Red Cross)

Every April, the American Red Cross joins organizations around the world to shine a spotlight on the people who make the real difference in our communities: our volunteers. Their selfless time, energy, compassion, and dedication are what get the work of the Red Cross done.

National Volunteer Week takes place this year from April 19th through April 25th. As a ramp-up to this special time, now is the perfect moment to recognize – once more – the incredible volunteers honored throughout our region at our 2019 Volunteer Recognition Events:

Read more

Our region is helping address the severe blood shortage


Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. (If you can’t find a blood drive in your area right now, please check back as Red Cross teams are rescheduling them as quickly as possible. Thank you!)

As the coronavirus pandemic has grown in the U.S., blood drive cancellations have also grown at an alarming rate. As of March 18, nearly 4,500 Red Cross blood drives have been cancelled across the country due to concerns about congregating at workplaces, college campuses, and schools during the coronavirus outbreak. These cancellations have resulted in some 150,000 fewer blood donations. More than 80 percent of the blood the Red Cross collects comes from drives held at locations of this type. Read more

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