ModernJeeper Stacie Albright on Relief and Recovery Duty at Camp Fire
Wildfires in the west, especially California have blown out of control – literally. The raging infernos of 2018 are beyond the capability of the fire service as it exists today. The fuels are too dry; too many people live in the wildland that need their homes protected; there are too few resources to go around when hundreds of thousands of acres are involved; and the radical environmental groups have pressured politics to the point where we can no longer manage our forests and wildlands to prevent wildfires.
Be that as it may, wildfires are also causing evacuations like never before. ModernJeeper Stacie Albright decided to jump in the middle of the evacuations and help people with relief, shelter and recovery.
As of November 2018, the Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Named after the origin, Camp Creek Road, this inferno has destroyed 12,000 structures, homes and apartments. Displaced residents are fleeing the area looking for help, relief, food, places to stay, and someone who cares.
Churches, fairgrounds, town-halls, and community centers become evacuation sites, relief locations, and donation drop off places. But guess what? Someone has to organize all these relief centers and drop-off locations. Clothes, shoes, coats, food, water and more started arriving in Yuba City and Oroville nearly immediately after the Camp Fire took off. Hundreds of truck and car loads of donations!
To the rescue — Stacie Albright, ModernJeeper and land use advocate and dozens of like-minded citizens wanting to help are showing up at relief centers. Stacie hooked up her vintage Terry trailer to her 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and headed north to help.
First of all, she will be the first to tell you that you should know where you’re headed before you try to drive into a fire area. It’s best if you have a club or group or organization you are reporting to duty for as a volunteer. Online resources and Facebook are a wealth of info on what YOU can do to help. Try to get a heads up of what you can do to help and where you should report BEFORE to head out!
The job of a volunteer in a relief center is multi-tasking: Sorting, organizing, being a parking lot attendant, finding places to pile and store stuff; answering thousands of questions from evacuees; helping people find their pets; labeling piles of clothes and sizes; and more.
Here is how Stacie described the experience:
“Since this is the second fire relief effort that I have worked at a fire relief center (Butte Fire 2015), I have a background in organizing volunteers and getting stuff done where it needs be. I am happy to jump in and get my hands dirty, drive people to and from wherever they need to go or simply just listen as the evacuees are often stunned beyond belief. I give out a lot of free hugs as well and I hope they come away from talking to me feeling a little better about their situation and know that there will be help out there for them.
As the week progressed so did the donations, the generous outpouring has been amazing to say the least. But with donations comes the overwhelming task going through all of it and finding a place to put it. We will be preparing for rain (hopefully) so that means finding a dry spot for all the stuff outside which will be difficult as there is so much on the ground like hay, mounds of dog and cat bedding, food etc etc.
As mentioned before, please try and contact the food bank, church, fairground office or wherever you plan on going to make sure they need what you are bringing as chances are it is already there and just needs to get to the right place. Also ask if they need more warm bodies to come up and help as the volunteers come and go and fade out. Me? I’m jumping in!”
The entire team at ModernJeeper salutes all the volunteers helping the victims of wildfires, as well as our police, emergency and fire responders!
Pics of one of the Camp Fire relief centers.
Thank you Stacie and all the volunteers helping people recover from this devastating wildfire.