Wildfires have forced more than 1,500 people out of their homes across Oregon, and two Vermonters with the American Red Cross have gone to help the relief effort.
Jessica Masten and Reid Asaro, both from St. Johnsbury, have been sent to Portland to help supervise emergency shelters, as well as hand out food and other emergency supplies.
Jennifer Costa, the Red Cross’ Regional Communications Director, said that it can be hard to get in touch with volunteers once they’re deployed. Wildfires can spread rapidly and response teams are constantly moving to best position themselves.
Regional Preparedness Manager for Northern New England, Abby Kelly, said that volunteers make up 90% of the Red Cross, and are an essential part of their operations.
“They are a huge asset and they’re the ones that go out and give up their time so that they can be able to help, and we have volunteers going out all of the time,” said Abby.
More than 880 Red Cross responders have been deployed across the West to help provide relief to fires in both Oregon, and California.
Last week, Oregon governor Kate Brown asked the President to approve a federal emergency declaration for the State of Oregon.
In a release about the request, Brown said, “The request I made for a federal disaster declaration is critical to helping bolster our state’s response, and it presents an opportunity for Oregon to partner with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bridge the gaps we know exist as we work hard to protect our communities.”
Brown said that the wildfires were burning across 168,000 acres throughout the state of Oregon.
If you want to donate to the Red Cross’s efforts you can visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.