Volunteers from Vancouver head to help people fleeing California wildfires

By Jerzy Shedlock, Columbian staff writer



Two disaster relief volunteers from Vancouver are traveling to help people affected by the devastating wildfires raging across Southern California, according to American Red Cross Cascades Region.

The volunteers will help manage shelters taking in families who were evacuated from their homes, said Monique Dugaw, Red Cross regional director of communications. A total of seven shelters have been opened so far, Dugaw said.

Red Cross said more than 430 people spent the night in the shelters Tuesday.

“Our focus is ensuring people have their basic needs met and a safe place to stay if they were affected by an evacuation order, or if their home was destroyed, help them with the recovery process,” she said.

In all, 15 responders from the Cascades Region of Oregon and Southwest Washington are on their way to California. They hail from Vancouver and the Oregon communities of Salem, Mosier, Medford, Springfield, Beaverton, Astoria, Gold Beach, Oregon City and Keizer, according to Red Cross.

The Clark County fire departments contacted for this story said they had not sent firefighters or personnel south to help.

Nearly 200,000 people have been told to leave their homes in the areas around Ventura and Los Angeles. The Thomas, Creek and Rye fires have burned around 80,000 acres as of Wednesday. Officials said dangerous conditions are expected to threaten the region for much of this week.