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As Fires Burn, Red Cross Brings Relief to Weary California
Date:7/17/2008

A busy disaster season continues with the response to California wildfires

WASHINGTON, July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection today reported 80 active wildfires still burning in parts of California where the American Red Cross has opened 17 shelters since early June to help those who have been affected by the fires.

The Red Cross relief operation has served more than 21,000 meals and snacks, and distributed more than 1,100 comfort kits, all of this accomplished by hundreds of Red Cross disaster relief workers on the scene. Red Cross chapters throughout the state are also responding to additional smaller, more localized fires to provide food, shelter and emotional support to California residents in need of help. More than 870,000 acres have burned in the state since June 20, according to the CAL FIRE web site.

In addition, the Red Cross effort has shifted to the recovery phase of the operation in some areas, including opening of a service center for disaster victims. Victims can let an interviewer at the service center know what they need, and receive assistance for such things as food, clothing, and other necessities. Counseling and referrals to other resources will also be available. Specially trained Red Cross volunteers can help victims replace eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids, or prescriptions lost in the disaster. The direct distribution sites will be giving affected residents clean-up items and small amounts of non-perishable foods.

These fires are just part of the massive disaster efforts taking place across America in response to this summer's busy flood, fire and tornado season. Since the beginning of April, the Red Cross has responded to more than 36 disasters across the nation. Now, an early fire season brings Red Cross disaster workers to the west coast to help weary residents and fire fighters. These disasters occur as the Atlantic hurricane season moves into its height.

Those seeking more information about assistance or shelter locations should call the Red Cross toll free at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

BECOME A VOLUNTEER

For this response, the American Red Cross is currently relying on the hundreds of volunteers, who are already trained to respond during a disaster. To find out how you can become a trained Red Cross volunteer and assist in future disasters, please call 1-800-RED CROSS.

FINANCIAL DONATIONS

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like wildfires in California, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting http://www.redcross.org.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization -- not a government agency -- and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://www.redcrosschat.org.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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