Red Cross recruits volunteers as wildfire season approaches

With new vegetation due to record breaking rainfall, the Red Cross is calling on the community to prepare for a severe wildfires as the land dries with rising temperatures

FRESNO, CALIF. – The Central Valley expects to add wildfires to their list of natural disasters in the coming months. The Red Cross says they need more volunteers for recovery services.

The American Red Cross is calling for more volunteers to protect California forests as wildfire season approaches. With the increase in rainfall more vegetation could lead to more fuel for fires, making them more massive than in years past. As the threat grows the need for volunteers is increasing.

Up to 90% of the American Red Cross workforce is made up of volunteers. During 2022, 160 local volunteers responded to major disasters across the country.  Just in 2023, more than 150 Central California Red Cross disaster workers responded to California’s floods and tornadoes in the south. They have provided shelter, comfort, hot meals, health services and recovery support to families who are overwhelmed and have nowhere else to go.

Although rain and flooding has increased in 2023, more water doesn’t necessarily mean fires will be less severe. Back in 2020, similar storms spread wild vegetation — which later dried and helped to fuel the worst wildfire season in state history.

According to the National Park Services website, The Castle Fire of 2020 killed between 10-14% of the Sequoia tree population in the Sierra Nevadas.

With more vegetation this year the fires could be harder to control in the mountains this year. The Red Cross is encouraging people to prepare for fire season by staying informed, building emergency kits, and making evacuation plans in case of an emergency.

Other ways locals can support the community in preparation is signing up for Red Cross programs such as 

  • SHELTER SUPPORT: Help at a shelter during a large disaster by welcoming and registering residents, serving meals, setting up cots, distributing blankets and personal hygiene kits, and providing information and other assistance to people in need.
  • HEALTH SERVICES: We also need volunteers who can use their professional skills as a licensed health care provider to deliver hands-on support, including care and education to people staying at a shelter during a large disaster. Qualified licenses include RN, LPN, LVN, EMT, Paramedic, MD, DO, PA, NP and APRN.
  • DISASTER ACTION TEAM: While big wildfires get the most news coverage, smaller disasters, such as home fires, are no less devastating to those affected. Join your local Disaster Action Team to help families in need by providing food, lodging, comfort, recovery assistance and other support.

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