The Red Cross evacuation shelter at La Pine Middle School is offering comfort and relief for hundreds of people forced to flee from the Darlene Fire.
The Darlene Fire evacuation shelter is set up in the gymnasium.
Evacuees can sleep in the shelter, take showers, get meals three times a day and access Red Cross support services at any time.
“A lot of our evacuees are coming in. Some are staying in their cars with their pets,” said Alan Underkofler, Shelter Supervisor. “They just come in for food. Sometimes they come into the shelter for snacks and drinks. We are here to offer support.”
“Some are really anxious about what’s going on, always asking us for information and we don’t have a lot,” said Joe Foran as he prepared meals in the La Pine Lions Club food truck. “We know that three homes have been destroyed and an RV and a bunch of outbuildings.”
The Pet Evacuation Team is sheltering animals, mostly horses, forced to evacuate from the Darlene Fire at the La Pine Rodeo grounds.
The animal shelter is provided in coordination with Red Cross and Deschutes County Emergency Services.
People are showing up in steady stream at the shelter with donations of food, cash and offers to help anyway they can.
That’s the case for Denise Hatch, who asked what groceries were needed to keep the Lion’s Club food truck supplied.
She then went shopping and gifted the items to help people she’s never met.
“It comes from caring for people. Feeling compassion for others and feeling their pain,” Hatch said. “This community comes together and lifts people up like crazy. It makes you want to do that. It makes more and more people want to do that.”
The Red Cross Shelter at La Pine Middle School is expecting to receive evacuees from Lake County fleeing the Bootleg Fire.
It offers plenty of room and plenty of the familiar community support to help people displaced by fire.