Two volunteers from the American Red Cross in San Jose will drive an emergency response vehicle to Prescott, Ariz. on Saturday to aid victims of wildfires raging there since June 28, the Red Cross announced.
Howard Gray of Morgan Hill and Howard Mukoyama of San Jose are to board the vehicle at 2 p.m. at the Red Cross's Silicon Valley Chapter at 2731 N. First St. for the long drive to Prescott, Red Cross spokeswoman Cynthia Shaw said.
The vehicle, which can provide meals for up to 3,000 people a day when loaded with goods and relief supplies, will service people displaced due to the devastating grass and brush fire, Shaw said.
The two volunteers will drive it to neighborhoods where people are sifting through the remains of their homes, Shaw said.
"We bring them water, emotional support, cleanup kits," Shaw said.
The men will stay overnight on the way to Prescott, a 12-hour drive, and remain there for two to three weeks before flying back to San Jose, Shaw said.
The blaze, known as the Yarnell Hill Fire, started by a lightning strike about 30 miles southwest of Prescott on June 28 and is about 80 percent contained, according to InciWeb.org, a government agency information website about the fire.
The fire has blackened about 8,400 acres and about 550 firefighters are battling it, according to InciWeb.org.
Volunteer drivers in four of the vehicles left today for the Prescott area from Red Cross offices in Fairfield, Oakland and Monterey, Shaw said.
The Red Cross' Bay Area, Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz county chapters have already deployed 20 volunteers to Prescott since Wednesday, Shaw said.
The organization is currently assisting city residents with food, shelter, prescription drugs and other medical needs, Shaw said.
On June 30, 19 firefighters from the Prescott Fire Department, in a unit called the Granite Mountain Hotshots, were killed while battling the Yarnell fire.
An honor guard procession is scheduled to escort the team member's remains from Phoenix to the Yavapai County medical examiner's office in Prescott on Sunday prior to a memorial service in Prescott on Tuesday, according to yarnellfallenfirefighters.com.