By Teri Klemchuk
Photo credit: American Red Cross/Teri Klemchuk
Arizona residents affected by wildfires continue to turn to the Red Cross for a safe place to stay, food, emotional support and health services.
The fire has forced hundreds of people to leave their homes and caused a closure of a major roadway in the area, dividing the response area almost in half. Red Cross workers opened shelters on both sides of the fire to best help people in need.
A community meeting to update local residents was held on Tuesday, July 2 at the Red Cross shelter located at Wickenburg High School. Ethan Mapstone and his family have been staying at a local motel after they were evacuated from their home in Yarnell on Sunday. The family attended the meeting along with approximately 300 neighbors. During the meeting, kids were invited to draw pictures as their parents intently listened to first responders.
When asked about his drawings, Ethan said he heard about the 19 firefighters on the news and it made him sad but drawing a picture made him feel better. He doesn’t know if his home is okay and is worried.
People may be experiencing many different emotions after this type of tragedy, which is normal. The Red Cross has disaster mental health workers to help those affected cope. To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, you can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.