Albemarle officials say the number of house fires has held steady over the last several years, but the recent activity has two distinct features. John Oprandy of Albemarle Fire and Rescue says there have been more heat-related fires, and they caused more damage. This has affected the local Red Cross chapter. A spokesman says the Red Cross is trying to raise a quarter of a million dollars. Donations to the “Hope is Fireproof” campaign can be made online or by visiting the Red Cross on Rose Hill Drive (pictured). The Red Cross also needs volunteers who want to help but can’t afford to make donations.