Red Cross in need of volunteers, funds to help wildfire evacuees

The Red Cross has deployed 470 volunteers across California to help those fleeing wildfires.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California is experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons ever.

As crews work on the front lines to control the blazes, Red Cross volunteers are helping thousands of evacuees.

"We are early in the fire season and we are already seeing a tremendous amount of activity, unheard of amounts of activity," said Lori Wilson, Executive Director for the Central Valley Red Cross.

Wilson said so far, the agency has deployed 470 volunteers statewide.

Another 400 have also been stationed near the Gulf Coast in anticipation of Tropical Storm Laura.

These natural disasters are now magnifying the Red Cross' need for more volunteers.

"We know we are going to be needing more help and no, this is not something that is going to go away," she said.

The pandemic has also created new challenges.

Many interactions now have to be done virtually.

This includes volunteer training.

"They're doing an interview online or they might be doing logistics, getting the supplies online," she said.

Sheltering has also changed.

The Red Cross' first option is putting people in hotels.

It's safer and reduces crowds.

Option two is creating an evacuation shelter with safety protocols in place.

This includes health screenings at the door and wearing a mask at all times.

Wilson says the problem here is that capacity has been drastically cut down.

"Where we used to have one that hold 100 people now might only hold 35," she said.

With wildfire season still raging on, Wilson is asking the community to donate to the Red Cross.

They're not government-funded and every dollar will help them help someone in dire need.

You can donate here.
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