Red Cross adjusts to help families impacted by wildfires during the pandemic

MALDEN, Wash. — Those living in Malden only had about 15 minutes to evacuate when the fire came. Many of them came home to find their belongings and memories in ashes.

The American Red Cross is stepping up to help with food, clothing and- most importantly- a place to stay.

Disaster, on a scale the town of Malden never expected waking up Monday morning. Entire homes, furniture and belongings inside decimated by uncontrollable, fast-moving flames.

Normally, the Red Cross shelter would be a place for people to turn to, set up at a local school of community center. A large group of people in once space during COVID-19 just isn’t safe. However, during a pandemic, disasters don’t take a break.

“We’re advertising hotel sheltering right now to folks that need somewhere to go,” said Ryan Rodin, executive director of the Greater Inland Northwest Red Cross.

Rodin says seven hotel shelters have been set up in Eastern Washington right now, some in Spokane.

“We find the closest hotel that we’re operating for them. We help meet their other needs while they’re in the hotel as well,” said Rodin.

Those needs could include food and clothing, even a place for pets to stay. Rodin estimates there’s close to 100 people throughout the state, if not more that are relying on help from the Red Cross.

“No cost whatsoever,” said Rodin. “All disaster relief is completely free of charge.”

Rodin believes Malden will rise from the ashes.

With all the fires burning across the state, the American Red Cross is still looking for volunteers who can mobilize for up to 7 days. Another way you can help is by donating here.