DENVER (CBS4) – The Red Cross of Colorado is sending two volunteers to Washington state to help people devastated by wildfires. One of the volunteers flew out on Monday and CBS4’s Kathy Walsh found she’s no stranger to big fires.
Dana Goldsmith has been giving her time to the Red Cross for just over a year, but she’s already witnessed what a wildfire can do. The flames have been spreading for a week, covering hundreds of square miles. At last estimate, 150 homes have been devoured, but that number may be low.
There are 1,400 firefighters battling the blaze with 100 engines, helicopters dropping water, and planes spreading flame retardant.
Goldsmith knows what she’s in for.
“I anticipate that there’s just going to be a lot of people that are going to be scared, and there’s going to be a little bit of chaos behind all of that,” Goldsmith said.
The 28-year-old volunteer checked in at Denver International Airport to catch a flight to Seattle. She will then drive to Wenatchee, Wash. to help coordinate staff for the Red Cross.
“This is my first time leaving the state,” she said.
Goldsmith has been with the Red Cross Pikes Peak Chapter since June of 2013. She started the second day of the Black Forest Fire.
“My interview was at 10:30 a.m. and I started working for them at 11 a.m.”
For the wife and mother of three it’s a way to give back. Her parents and siblings were evacuated during the Waldo Canyon Fire.
“I understand that shock, I understand the confusion of not really knowing what’s going to happen next and whether your home’s going to be there when you come back.”
Goldsmith is prepared to stay at least 2 weeks. She’s ready to offer a hand and even a hug.
The other Red Cross volunteer headed to Washington state is Lee Orser from Grand Junction. It will be his 11th disaster deployment.
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