COVID – 19 has changed our lives, even in times of natural disasters.
Because of Coronavirus, the Red Cross is not setting up an evacuation shelter inside Exeter’s Veterans Memorial Building but rather providing a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP). A few tables and Red Cross personnel are set up outside the building to provide people hotel rooms or other logistical support.
Around 5:30pm eight families from the South Fork area of Three Rivers, some with pets, were waiting in the parking lot at the Veterans Memorial Building at 324 N. Kaweah to be given a hotel room. The evacuees will be provided shelter for the duration of the evacuation.
The Red Cross personnel said that the hotel would be local, probably no further than Visalia, and that they would be able to accommodate pets. At time of publication, the organization was still working on finalizing arrangements with a hotel.
No donations at this time are being collected at the TEP but the Red Cross will accept checks that can be ear marked to go towards the Sequoia Complex Fire.
In the event the fire does cause structural damage to Three Rivers, the Rocky Hill Church is on standby to help with providing basic needs to the evacuees.
It’s a mandatory evacuation for South Fork because the fire is closer to that section of Three Rivers, and also to alleviate traffic in the event the entire town needs to be evacuated. The remainder of Three Rivers is under a voluntary evacuation order.
In a plea from Tricia Stever Blattler, who is the director at Tulare County Farm Bureau and is helping organize intake of livestock at Woodlake Rodeo Grounds, “Please don’t wait till the last minute, daytime is better than night time. It takes time to find trailers, drivers, and get help to folks especially farther up in the hills.” –
She said that there is plenty of space at the rodeo grounds “but what is tight is getting trucks/trailers into the impacted areas to evacuate livestock, particularly livestock that is not used to being in trailers, and may not be easy to handle and load. please plan ahead and get help and prepare for your evacuation plans early and frequently update as needed. You may only get to exit and not return to your home, so gather up all pets and important evacuation materials in the FIRST load.”
“You do NOT need to make appointments, just load up and get down safe,” said Stever.
For further questions concerning the Exeter TEP please call the Public Information Officer Nicole Maul 559 320-6224.