A pair of Farmington firefighters has been assigned to the Valley Fire, in Lake County, leaving out of Farmington at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.
“I sent a water tender and two people,” Fire Chief Conni Bailey said, noting that she didn’t really have the firefighters to spare but all other volunteers are staying close to the station to cover local calls.
Assistant Chief Matt Bailey and firefighter Luis Estrada were assigned to an ‘Expanded Equipment’ team and will be working 24-hour shifts while they are on scene at the Valley Fire.
As of Monday night, the Valley Fire was at 61,000 acres and was listed at zero percent containment. Evacuations were in effect and several hundred structures had burned.
The Butte Fire, which had grown to over 71,000 acres by Monday in Amador and Calaveras counties, was at 30 percent containment, with many evacuations still in effect and dozens of buildings burned.
Local collection efforts to help the fire victims and those on the front lines are being done throughout the region, with everything from baby food and clothes to fresh socks for firefighters to cases of water, animal feed and more being collected and delivered.
A collection barrel has been placed in the front office of The Oakdale Leader – Escalon Times – Riverbank News office in Oakdale to collect items, which will then be delivered to the affected area.
Also being sought, through the Red Cross, are monetary donations to help that organization replenish supplies and help run the shelter sites for evacuees.
“The American Red Cross has established a public information line for inquiries from the public regarding Red Cross services during the Butte Fire. The number to call is 925-588-6678. The phone number is being staffed by a Red Cross volunteer. If you get a busy signal, we ask for your patience and to call back,” said Lilly Wyatt, Director of Regional Communications with the American Red Cross Gold Country Region.
There are three emergency evacuation shelters established by the Red Cross for victims of the nearby Butte Fire. They include the Good Samaritan Church, 4684 Baldwin St., Valley Springs and Jenny Lynn Veterans Hall, 189 Pine Street, Valley Springs, both in Calaveras County and, in Amador County, the shelter is at the Jackson Rancheria Hotel and Resort, 12222 New York Ranch Road, Jackson.
“We appreciate the good intentions of people who want to donate items, but financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most,” Wyatt added. “The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle a large influx of donations such as household items, clothing or food that may or may not be useful to victims as it takes time and money to store, sort and distribute donated items. If community members still like to donate goods, we recommend they contact other organizations in their community and inquire if they are accepting donations.”
Multiple loads of donated goods have already been taken from the tri-city area of Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon, including several over the weekend. And while Wyatt said everything helps, the Red Cross benefits most from the cash donations.
“Financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help we deliver and ensure that we can provide what disaster victims need most,” said Wyatt. “Donating is simple, just call 1-800-Red Cross or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.”
Founded in 1898, the Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross serves 4.4 million people in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties.