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Red Cross deploys 22 from Wisconsin to wildfires out west

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(WKOW) -- More than five million acres have been burned in the western wildfires already this year.

The American Red Cross, including 22 from Wisconsin, is stepping in to help.

The Red Cross is largely still in response phase at this time, since people haven't been able to go back home while the wildfires continue to burn.

Volunteers are helping people in California, Oregon and Washington with basic needs like food and shelter, as well as health and mental health services.

Most of the people deployed from Wisconsin are in Oregon. 27 News caught up with Justin Kern, stationed in Yuba City, California.

"With hurricanes I had some frame of reference of what the destruction it can cause, but this is unlike anything I could have imagined," said Kern, one of the Red Cross' regional communication officers. "You're both seeing destruction on a wide scale that looks almost warlike, but it's this omnipresent thing where the fires just continue to burn."

Because of the pandemic, there's also an option to virtually deploy. Kern says some Wisconsin volunteers have gone that route.

You can sign up to volunteer in-person or virtually or donate money on the Red Cross website.

Caroline Bach

Anchor, 27 News at 11

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