United Way, Red Cross announce successful completion of 2011 Wildfire Fund

February 27, 2013 marked the two year anniversary of the beginning of the worst wildfire season in the state's history. It was during this devastating fire season that thousands of Texas residents lost their homes to fires.

Panhandle residents began offering assistance to those affected by the fires, by pouring donation money into the American Red Cross for victims. The American Red Cross spent $179,000 to help families across the area. Due to the abundant donations from the community, the American Red Cross established a Wildfire Fund of $103,000. This fund was intended to keep donations in the Panhandle for families affected by residential structure fires.

"We were able to use that money to help nearly 700 people who burned out of their homes here locally. It's hard to imagine what it's like to wake up to your smoke alarm and run for the curb, wearing only your pajamas. That's what we see so often when we roll up on the curb to help one family who has no idea what they're supposed to do next

," said Steve Pair, executive director of the Texas Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross.

According to a news release from the American Red Cross the Wildfire Fund is now depleted and families across the Panhandle were helped because of the generous community donations.

"The local staff and volunteers of the American Red Cross responded well to the needs of our neighbors who were affected by the wildfires two years ago," said United Way President Riley Hill. "We are fortunate to have them as a partner in our community and are pleased to note the integrity they've shown in using 100 percent of the remaining wildfire funds to help other Panhandle area residents who have lost their homes to fires."