PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Red Cross shelter that opened in Camas Sunday to help people who were evacuated due to the Nakia Creek Fire had 29 people register overnight.
The Red Cross is providing evacuees with safe lodging, meals, and emotional and spiritual support.
“After any disaster, it can be unsettling to suddenly have to leave your home and your belongings,” said Dawn Johnson, the interim communications director with the American Red Cross Cascades Region. “They come in and they can be a little emotionally distraught.”
On Sunday, about 3,000 people were under Level 3 Go Now evacuation notices. On Monday, emergency officials said the evacuation zones were shrinking, but have not yet released an update on how many homes or residents live in each zone.
Johnson said the shelter is open to anyone who receives any type of evacuation notice. It’s not exclusively available to people who receive Level 3 notices.
The Red Cross strongly encourages anyone who receives an evacuation notice to obey it. Johnson recommends people in Clark County sign up to receive emergency alerts sent to their phone. People can also receive information through the Red Cross Emergency App.
The shelter is accepting animals that have evacuated the Nakia Creek Wildfire. The Red Cross encourages pet owners to bring their own crates if they can.
The Southwest Washington Humane Society is bringing crates and additional pet supplies to the Red Cross shelter site.
Johnson said the best way people can help wildfire evacuees is through financial donations made to the Red Cross.
“Even a $5 donation can pay for a blanket, a $10 donation can supply somebody who’s been evacuated with a meal. So that’s really the best way to help out,” she said.
Mid-October isn’t a time the Red Cross usually sets up new wildfire evacuation shelters in the Pacific Northwest, but Johnson said it’s no different than setting up a shelter in July. They’ll still be providing evacuees with the same resources.
“In California, we’ve had fire starts all the way into December,” Johnson said. “So, it’s just a good reminder to always be prepared.”
She said people can be more prepared to evacuate by thinking ahead about what belongings they would want to take with them if they did leave their homes. People can also pack emergency bags to have on hand at any time, not just for when a natural disaster is taking place nearby.
When a wildfire is burning nearby, the Red Cross recommends people back their cars into the garage or park them nearby, facing the direction of their evacuation route; keep their pets in one room so they’re easy to catch and cage; limit exposure to smoke and dust; and don’t use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
Anyone who evacuates from a fire should not return home until it’s safe to do so.
Once they’re allowed to return, residents should inspect the roof of their home immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers. They should also search for embers around their property or look for smoke.
People should avoid damaged or downed power lines and wet down debris to minimize breathing in dust particles.
Any food that’s been exposed to heat, smoke or soot should be thrown away.
The Red Cross shelter for people evacuated due to the Nakia Creek fire is located at the Camas Church, 2204 NE Birch St., Camas, WA, 98607.