USA: Red Cross shelters residents affected by ongoing California wildfire

News and Press Release
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An explosive wildfire destroyed numerous homes and a college dormitory in Montecito, California on Thursday, forcing thousands of people out of their homes. The Santa Barbara County Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a shelter on Thursday and provided 125 people affected by the wildfire with a safe place to stay. In addition, the Red Cross, in partnership with the Sallies, is providing meals to residents. Mental health services are also being provided.

Fire fighters faced wind gusts as high as 70 mph on Thursday night. Wind is expected to remain strong through Friday according to the National Weather Service in Oxnard. A thousand homes are said to be threatened by the fire. The Red Cross has additional shelters on standby.

If you have one call to make before you evacuate your home, call someone you love and tell them you are safe. Then, ask them to register you on Safe and Well accessible at Web site allows those directly affected by a disaster to let their loved ones know of their well-being. For those without internet access, call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register yourself and your family. Follow the prompts for disaster information.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the Wildfires, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

American Red Cross
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is provided at no cost, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. The Red Cross also supplies nearly half of the nation's lifesaving blood. This, too, is made possible by generous voluntary donations. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. To donate blood, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or contact your local Red Cross to find out about upcoming blood drives. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.