Red Ice Membership

Red Cross Responds to Weather Hazards Nationwide
2004 07 07

Firefighters in Arizona are battling growing wildfires. (Image Courtesy of the NIFC)
From widespread flooding in Arkansas to roaring wildfires in Alaska, American Red Cross volunteers nationwide are rushing to meet the emergency needs of disaster victims as weather calamities crisscross the U.S.

“We have hundreds of Red Cross volunteers in almost a dozen states now responding to flooding, all types of severe storms, high winds and wildfires,” said Ray Steen, with Red Cross Disaster Services. “The emergency needs are unique to each situation and our local volunteers know and understand their communities. So whether it’s a shelter or a hot meal, the Red Cross is going to work to make sure those affected by a disaster have their needs met.”

In Arkansas, weeks of rainfall gave way to even more torrential downpours in recent days, displacing residents from one side of the state to the other. In Helena and its neighboring communities, more than 100 homes were affected by flooding that followed the deluge. Volunteers are distributing clean-up kits, food and water to saturated residents. Throughout the Natural State, forty families have found safety in Red Cross shelters, while 500 more have received meals, clean-up kits and comfort kits.

Flooding also impacted residents in New Mexico near Mesquite, where Red Cross workers not only rushed to meet the emergency needs of those affected but also distributed preparedness and recovery information to help equip residents for future weather debacles.

High winds have wreaked havoc in parts of Kansas and Missouri – uprooting trees, damaging homes and leaving residents in the dark. Red Cross chapters in Kansas opened shelters for victims while crews worked to restore power and remove debris. Both states utilized Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) to go directly into the affected areas and distribute food and relief supplies.

Meanwhile, dry summer conditions have fueled wildfires from one tip of the western continental U.S. to the other, leaving firefighters battling blazes in Arizona, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. Red Cross volunteers are on high alert in each endangered community, having already opened shelters for evacuated residents, in addition to providing meals, snacks and other supplies.

Two fires raging in Arizona have already engulfed an estimated 20,700 acres combined, with the largest fire near Turkey Flat in southeastern Arizona accounting for 12,200 acres. Both were only 10 percent contained. In Alaska, an evacuation order remains in effect for 277 homes threatened by a 307,000-acre fire north of Fairbanks. So far this year, 331 fires have charred more than 1.1 million acres of the Alaskan landscape.

But even as the smoke thickens and storm clouds loom over large portions of the U.S., Red Cross volunteers nationwide remain ready to respond at a moment’s notice to whatever weather conditions may strike in their community.

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