Red Cross helping provide shelter, resources to Creek Fire evacuees

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some Creek Fire evacuees just have that feeling that they will never see their homes again.

Over the last several days, Sarah Bernal and her family have safely made their way down the mountain.

"But how bright it was, we just started packing right then and there," Bernal said.

But she believes her home, her mother's, and her uncle's (all on the same five-acre property in Jose Basin) were likely destroyed by the fire.

"We didn't even get clothes," Bernal said. "(The trailers are) just packed with tools so we can rebuild. That's pretty much all we came down with."

For now, they're staying in their trailers in the parking lot of Clovis North High School. But they're in the process of getting hotel rooms from the American Red Cross.

"We're not setting up cots," Red Cross Spokesperson Nicole Maul said. "We're prioritizing hotels. Taking care of people when it's needed most is our number one mission. And we're working in partnership with the county to make sure folks are taken care of."

American Red Cross spokesperson Nicole Maul says COVID-19 has changed how the organization responds to disasters like the Creek Fire.

Evacuees may not feel comfortable staying at a friend or family member's house right now, and many families may not have the financial ability to pay for a hotel on their own.

"The question that we ask is: Do you have safe shelter for tonight? And if you do not have safe shelter, we can help you."

"The flames were coming in pretty quick and the wind was coming in quickly too, so it was pretty stressful," said Tristan Killian, an evacuee from North Fork.

Tristan Killian believes his home is still standing and feels fortunate to have a temporary place to stay.

But on Tuesday, he picked up a gift card at the Red Cross site in Clovis.

"I mean I packed up as much as I could, but you know it definitely helps out to get a little boost of money."

To help people affected by the Creek Fire, the Red Cross says the best thing you can do is donate money at redcross.org and be sure to select the 'California Wildfires' option when giving.
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