Wildfire season means WA Red Cross volunteers cannot go to Texas

KREM 2's Danamarie McNicholl Carter talks to the local Red Cross organization about the ban on deployment to Texas right now because of the wildfire season in the PNW

SPOKANE, Wash --- The American Red Cross in Washington has a temporary ban on deploying anyone from the state to Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath because of the wildfire danger in Washington.

The American Red Cross has more than 40 shelters set up to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey. They are run by recruited volunteers from around the country.

Twelve volunteers from Washington have already been deployed. Now, the Spokane chapter is gearing up for the next wave of deployment.

“With our volunteers who want to deploy, they are ready and waiting,” said Red Cross employee, Megan Snow.

This is especially true for Pete Houser, an 18 year Red Cross volunteer who is anxiously awaiting his sixth deployment.

“You want to drop everything and go and help out. I pack a suitcase and a little bag for two weeks and we go. And in fact, my bags are packed now, just waiting for the call,” said Houser.

Wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest is in full swing though. The American Red Cross has put a ban on deploying further volunteers to Texas until Wednesday.

“They understand that Texas has a big need but Oregon could flare up, Washington could flare up and the need still exists somewhere and we can activate them where they are needed most,” said Snow.

Houser remembers the tragedy after his deployment last year to Florida for Hurricane Matthew.

“I worked at a shelter, seen a lot of devastation, a lot of injured people and I was glad I was there to help them,” said Houser.

That is what pushed him to pack his bags this time around.

“I was raised to help people, I am always there no matter if it’s a wildfire, flooding or something locally, I am there. I love it,” said Houser.

“We can never rebuild a full community but once the community comes together, we do manage to do pretty impressive things, but it’s going to take a long time,” said Snow.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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