Alaska Red Cross volunteers provide support to victims of west coast wildfires

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 6:19 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - While more than 90 large wildfires continue to rage in the lower 48, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, the brave men and women of the American Red Cross continue to provide assistance in a massive relief effort.

It could be weeks before thousands of people across the states of Oregon, Washington, and California can safely return home. In that time many are relying on the work of the American Red Cross. Volunteers from across Alaska are working with the Red Cross to provide food, shelter, and support through the disaster.

We spoke with the Alaska Regional Communications Officer Cari Dighton about the work of their volunteers.

“So far there have been more than 500 volunteers from 40 states across the nation that have come to help with this response effort. Filling needs for shelter, for food, for emotional support. Connecting families that may have lost track of each other during the evacuations. 30 of the people that are currently responding along the west coast wildfires are from Alaska. So you know we have Alaskans that are on the ground in Washington, Oregon where I am at and California. Then we also have people that are at their homes helping behind the scenes, connecting people with resources, assessing health needs, managing logistics so that our supplies are in place so we can help those, and a number of other positions as well,” said Dighton.

People interested in helping don’t need to travel to the lower 48 to assist in these relief efforts, as the Red Cross is providing virtual assistance options in addition to in person work.

“There are tons of virtual opportunities because we realize that things are different now during the COVID-19 pandemic, and peoples' needs are different, their interests are different, and so there are both on the ground and virtual opportunities available. So if you have the time you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. You can do that in Fairbanks, in your local community, on any of the military installations in the area, and then across the nation as well. If you’d like to review our most urgently needed positions or any other options that are available in your area you can do so at ,” Dighton said.

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