by Christie Phillips
Massive wildfires are burning out of control in California, Oregon and Washington, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes, many with only a few minutes notice. The American Red Cross is on the ground, helping those affected by this unprecedented situation.
In Oregon, more than 348,000 acres are burning, and in Washington, fires have scorched as many as 330,000 acres in just 24 hours. In California, at least 25 major fires are burning from Northern California to the Mexican border — with about 800 miles between the most distant fires. While some of the older fires in California are under control, the new Creek Fire near Fresno has already consumed more than 152,000 acres.
Power outages are growing rapidly due to both public safety shutdowns and fire damage. Wildfires are also burning in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Much of the western part of the country is facing critical fire weather conditions including high winds and hot, dry weather.
The Red Cross is working alongside partners and local officials to make sure people have a safe place to stay. On Tuesday, September 8, the Red Cross and our partners provided more than 1,500 people with safe refuge from the wildfires in emergency lodgings, including shelters and, in some cases, hotels.
Red Cross volunteers are also supporting temporary evacuation points, which are sites dedicated to directing evacuees to the best sheltering option for their individual needs. Hundreds of Red Cross disaster workers are helping evacuees cope, both on the ground and virtually. This includes replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or other medical equipment.
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