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Hoosier volunteers head to Oregon, where wildfires rage

Red Cross sending local couple with special van
Western Fires.PNG
Posted at 9:32 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 21:45:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — With wildfires burning in the west, two Red Cross volunteers from Indianapolis are on their way to help.

Deb and Jesse McDaniel left for Oregon Friday, where 500,000 people have been ordered to to evacuate.

The couple has gone to disasters before, but not wildfires. They are driving a specially-equipped emergency response vehicle to help those displaced and in need.

"Generally it's feeding, it's getting food from the source to those in need, in some cases it may be supplies," said Jesse McDaniel. "We also could be helping first responders providing them either meals or something that they might need as well. Typically it's the clients, impacted by whatever the disaster is," according to Deb McDaniel.

The McDaniels anticipate being gone about two weeks.

In Oregon Friday, firefighters aided by helicopters dropping ire retardant and water are battling two large wildfires that threaten to merge near the most populated part of Oregon, including the suburbs of Portland.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management says the number of people ordered to evacuate statewide because of fires rose to an estimated 500,000 - more than 10% of the state's 4.2 million people.

The Oregon Convention Center in Portland was among buildings being transformed into shelters for wildfire evacuees. A change in the weather, with winds dropping and shifting direction and humidity rising, has aided the firefighters.

The Associated Press contributed to this story