Local Red Cross volunteers head to wildfire-scorched California

A pickup truck passes a wildfire burning along the 101 Freeway in Ventura, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The wind-swept blazes have forced tens of thousands of evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Hundreds of thousands of acres are burning in southern California this week, and Oregon has sent more than 200 firefighters to help battle the flames.

But the need goes beyond fighting fires, and that’s where the Red Cross comes in.

“We are trying to provide food, shelter and a sense of community and security among affected people,” Red Cross Volunteer Storm Olund said.

Volunteers with the Oregon Red Cross arrived in California Wednesday, and during their flight in, they got a glimpse of what they are up against.

“Seeing just how big the fire was and close it was to neighborhoods was striking to see,” Olund said.

This is Olund's first volunteer disaster trip with the Red Cross. She's working in one of the many shelters set up for the thousands who are now displaced.

“I just hope that I can help make things be a bit less rough for people, if I can put a smile on one person’s face I will consider it a success,” Olund said.

His shelter sits in the shadows of the fires, serving as a constant reminder that no one's home is safe.

“We were very close and we could see very large columns of smoke rising from the hills. It looked very threatening... that was pretty shocking to see as well,” Olund said.

After the summer fires at home, Olund said helping out is a no-brainer.

“We do need to recognize this could easily happen to us and humans need to help humans,” Olund said.

If you would like to help the Red Cross is accepting donations to help with shelters and anyone displaced in the fire.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off