CHARLOTTE -- Watching the flames tear through the California hills, Jody Pinion explained it’s time to go to work.

"Makes me want to be able to go out there and help people. It's why I do what I do,” said Pinion.

The American Red Cross volunteer is heading out west Thursday to help out other nurses in the thick of the wildfires. When she lands, she’ll take on the role of managing nurse – figuring out where the greatest need is, replacing medication, or working in shelters.

"It's so hard when you don't know where the fire is going to go. There's people where... its their home. Fire is so unpredictable. It's really scary,” she remarked.

It turned out to be a record year for American Red Cross disaster response. They’ve served more people across the country between August-December 2017 than in the last five years combined.

Pinion says it has stretched the organization thin but the work must be done.

"Our heart goes out for the people,” Pinion said. “Takes a certain person. Not everyone can do what we do."

Pinion expects to be in California for the next two weeks.