First Red Cross Shelter Experience a Positive One for Idyllwild Residents

Neighbors in Idyllwild Become Shelter Neighbors During the Cranston Fire

By Paige Shields, American Red Cross

Sara Robins, a retired nurse who lives in Idyllwild, was helping to water and care for the apple orchard at the Skyland Ranch Girl Scout Camp in Idyllwild, where she camped as a child, when a park official told her a fire had been set in the area and evacuations were being ordered.

Sara said, “I jumped right in my car and heard the evacuation order on the radio, and then I called my neighbors to let them know we need to evacuate right now.”

Sara, along with her neighbors Jim and Kelly Sheahan, grabbed their medications and pets first, and they all drove for 2 hours down the mountain with hundreds of other evacuees from Idyllwild – a drive that normally takes only half an hour.

They knew there was a high school nearby, and were relieved to find a Red Cross shelter had already been opened at Banning High School, with plenty of room for Cranston Fire evacuees. The San Jacinto Animal Shelter was also on hand to take their Golden Retriever and 18-year-old cat to the animal shelter.

Both Sara and Kelly remarked how impressed they were with Red Cross shelter, and all of the staff. “We couldn’t believe how nice everyone was, and AT&T even brought in a charging station for everyone’s phones,” said Kelly.

Minutes later, Sara and the Sheahans found out they were being allowed to return home, and that their homes were still standing. Visibly relieved, they started packing up, anxious to pick up their beloved pets. After three days as neighbors at the shelter, Sara and the Sheahans are ready to go back to their role as everyday neighbors, home at last, in Idyllwild.




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