The Red Cross responds to 60,000 disasters a year — and the vast majority of these are home fires. For disasters big and small, our volunteers provide comfort during what can be the worst days of people’s lives.
In July 2021, our mission to alleviate human suffering in the face of disasters was on full display in the Central California Region as Red Cross Disaster Action Team members and caseworkers supported nearly 400 residents affected by 70 home fires across Central California.
Sheltering teams also opened five temporary sheltering centers for those impacted by wildfire evacuations and a destructive apartment fire during high temperatures. While some Temporary Evacuation Points (TEP) were opened and closed within a short period of time, help and assistance was immediately offered to the communities in need.
Santa Lucia Fire: On July 9, 2021, in Santa Barbara County, a fire started near Vandenburg Air Force Base in Lompoc. Our volunteers in the Pacific Coast Chapter established a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) for neighbors affected by the fire, but quick work by firefighters returned them home swiftly. Thank you to the 9 Red Crossers that supported the behind the scenes and on scene efforts!
Within a 24-hour time span, on July 11, 2021 — one of the hottest days on record at 114 degrees — Red Crossers throughout Central California sprang into action to help their neighbors facing disasters.
Fresno Apartment Fire: On Sunday, July 11, 2021, a devastating fire started in an apartment complex in Fresno. Red Cross volunteers helped over 50 people who were displaced and needed immediate shelter and aid. A TEP was established at the Ted C. Wills Community Center, where residents were offered financial assistance, meals, health services, spiritual care services, and additional Spanish-Speaking caseworkers were brought in our to provide care to the residents. Thank you to the 17 Red Crossers that supported these residents!
Bear Fire: While teams in the Central Valley supported their neighbors, the Kern County & Eastern Sierras Disaster Team was activated to open a TEP for evacuees of the Bear Fire, but thankfully proper defensible space allowed firefighters to tackle the fire quickly for residents to safely go home within a couple hours.
River Fire: Later that afternoon, the Central Valley team then headed towards up the mountains to establish a Resource Center for the River Fire, which started near the Harlow Fire burn scar on the 60th anniversary of that devastating fire. Volunteers quickly set up to receive anyone seeking shelter from the fire at the New Life Christian Fellowship Church in Boot Jack, Mariposa, one of our faithful partners for over 10 years. The River Fire eventually grew to more than 48,000 acres throughout Mariposa and Madera Counties. Special thank you to the 22 Red Crossers that supported these sheltering efforts over 4 days.
Later in the month, on July 20th the Peak Fire began in Lake Isabella of Kern County, and Red Cross was quickly activated to help evacuees impacted. Volunteers stood ready to receive evacuees if needed. Special thanks to the 9 Red Crossers that acted quickly to set up the Temporary Evacuation Point and were on standby to assist as needed.