Iowans head to California to help with wildfire recovery

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) At least nine Iowans are in California right now helping victims of the wildfires. They're volunteers from the Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Camp Fire rages in California, Photo Date: 11/8/2018 / Photo: Joshua Stevens / NASA / CC BY 2.0 / (MGN)

Workers with the Red Cross said volunteers have to be able adapt more quickly, while responding to a fire. That's because a fire can easily change directions.

Most of the volunteers are staying about 100 miles away from the flames, and areas that are impacted throughout California.

The Iowa volunteers are mostly helping out with sheltering needs, as thousands of people lost their homes in the fire.

Other Iowa volunteers are working on reunification.

"So the Red Cross offers some reunification services which is huge in a disaster like a wildfire, where family members might not know where family and friends are that are in impacted areas so we work to reunite them or make contact with them so we know they are okay,” Disaster Program Manager Mary Flury said.

The latest Iowan to head to California left Cedar Rapids Tuesday morning. A couple more volunteers are expected to leave Friday, or sometime next week.

Other volunteers with the Iowa Chapter of the Red Cross are still helping hurricane relief efforts in Florida. Some of the volunteers have done multiple deployments just this year.