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The Kincade Fire was first reported on the evening of October 23, northeast of Geyserville in Sonoma County, and has since spread to more than 77,000 acres. At this point, fire crews have the blaze nearly 70% contained. By Friday, many evacuees had gone home.
The Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Service crews have all demobilized from the scene. After a week of dedicated service, we will now shift our focus to long-term recovery.
When the Kincade Fire first broke out, we were ready to jump into action. On Friday, October 25, Salvation Army staff from the Santa Rosa Corps jumped into action, preparing and serving lunch to Kincade Fire evacuees at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building. We began monitoring the situation to see when we would again be needed.
On Sunday morning, as evacuations increased, we began deploying to the area. Throughout the day, we expanded our response and were serving at as many as six evacuation shelters in Petaluma, San Rafael and Napa.
We had teams serving from nine different locations throughout Northern California. Salvation Army Corps from Auburn, Oroville, Petaluma, Roseville, San Rafael, Solano County, Redding, Santa Rosa, and Napa, including Napa Valley Culinary Training Academy graduates and volunteers, were among those serving. They worked hard to provide food, hydration and comfort.
Salvation Army Officer Lt. Larry Carmichael leads volunteers in prayer before serving meals at the Petaluma Veterans Center, which has turned into an evacuation shelter. Our teams are working hard to serve three meals per day, plus snacks, drinks and emotional care.
As one of the nation's major emergency relief organizations, The Salvation Army recognizes the critical importance of being prepared for natural and manmade disasters. Therefore, we take steps to ensure our own ability to respond quickly and efficiently to a disaster, while also working to educate other disaster professionals and the public at large about how to prepare for and respond to emergency situations.
Immediate Emergency Response
Emergency response services are activated on short notice according to an agreed-upon notification procedure coordinated with federal, state and local governments. Typically, Salvation Army personnel and resources will congregate at predetermined staging areas, entering the impacted area only once government first responders have indicated that it is safe and constructive to do so. These immediate response activities include food and hydration services, and emergency communication assistance to put victims in touch with their loved ones.
Long-Term Disaster Recovery
Depending on the magnitude of the disaster, The Salvation Army may continue providing immediate response services, such as food service, well into the recovery process. Additionally, The Salvation Army will often coordinate with local, state and federal entities to develop and execute long-term strategic disaster recovery plans. These activities include restoration and rebuilding initiatives, disaster social services (to address essential living needs, medical expenses or funeral costs) and in-kind donation distribution to disaster victims.
Spiritual and Emotional Care
Throughout the duration and aftermath of a major disaster, The Salvation Army provides spiritual comfort and emotional support upon request to victims and emergency workers coping with the stress of a catastrophe. Salvation Army counselors, who are often ordained as clergy (officers), may simply offer a "ministry of presence," but often people who know about The Salvation Army as representatives of God may ask for prayer or help from the Bible. Disaster relief and recovery services are provided to all in need without discrimination.