LA CROSSE, Wis. -- -

The Red Cross says it's been responding to more house fires this year than usual.

Officials say since Christmas, house and apartment fires have picked up in our area, keeping volunteers with the Scenic Bluffs Chapter very busy.

The regional development director, Carol Abrahamzon, said all the fires have cut into the organization's supplies, which is why there continues to be a need for community donations to the Red Cross.

She said a fire that happened a week ago is a perfect example of how volunteers help with both the physical and emotional needs of those experiencing the trauma of a fire.

"This multi-unit fire affected about 20 to 25 individuals and our volunteers were there with blankets and with water and were able to take these folks aside and tell them everything is going to be all right and that the Red Cross was there to help," said Abrahamzon.

For more information on how to donate or become a volunteer, visit http://www.redcross.org/wi/la-crosse