Wildfires in California are normal. Much like tornados or severe storms in the Midwest, it’s a season that we experience. Summertime is filled with hot days and dry, dry heat. On Monday evening, the Carr fire began in our beloved Whiskey town Lake, near the community of French Gulch. If you’ve never been to Redding before, you will know that we are a valley surrounded by mountains. For those of us in the city, we never thought or believed that this fire would grow as quickly and strong as it did. By the time we woke up Tuesday the fire had grown to nearly 4,500 feet in size. Every day the fires seemed to double, yet life went on as normal. When I woke up on Thursday I quickly noticed something was off. As I walked outside to my car, I started having trouble breathing due to the amount of smoke. (I’m incredibly allergic to pine, creating incredibly unhealthy condition as much of the smoke, is well, burnt pine.) Living near the river, I can typically see the tip of the Sundial Bridge from my sidewalk. The smoke was so thick, I couldn’t even see this, less than 50 feet away. It was around this time, that fire was quickly spreading west and headed for the city (at over 45,000 acres). After conversing with my family over the latest updates, I began packing my things and preparing for evacuation, much like the rest of the city. Rather than waiting until things got worse, I packed up everything I could and put it in my car. Not knowing how long I would be gone or what would remain, I drove north to family in Seattle. Over the course of Thursday, many people within my city and church, lost homes and everything they owned. Many others have been displaced or are still under mandatory evacuation. As I type this, the Carr fire has shifted in another direction and has moved away from the city. As I type this, it has expanded to over 95,368 acres and is 17% contained.
This was the first wildfire I had experienced and the first national disaster that has come so incredibly close. (Redding is a small city of around 90,000 people.) After checking in with a few friends, I am thankful to know that my home is safe and power has been restored. I’ll be spending a few more days with family until water, power, and air quality is stable. With any natural disaster, it takes time to see an infrastructure and needs met. Right now my city is experiencing critical needs like never before. For many others, the road will be much, much longer as they rebuild for months to come.
Ways to Give:
This is my home church and a place I dearly trust. You can give to two accounts. (Bethel’s campus is now approved by city officials to function as a distribution center for the Salvation Army and the city of Redding starting tomorrow morning.) It will serve as a resource to resupply fire victims and evacuation centers alike. In Sunday morning’s service, Pastor Bill Johnson, announced the church’s intent to financially give and support any one who has lost their home due to the fire. There are two funds available- one for the Carr Fire victims and the other to resource Bethel Global Response, as they bring aid and rebuild the community. 100% of all money collected goes to those impacted by the natural disaster.
Ways to pray:
Seriously we need rain, so so badly. For winds to cease. As the wind continues to blow, fires become more unpredictable and spread quickly.
For our firefighters.
Thank you. Thank you for fighting fires and putting your lives on the line every day for us. Many of you have worked 24 hours straight, only to nap on the ground of the neighborhood, and wake up to do it all over again. Pray for these brave men and women, for supernatural strength and waves of energy. Pray for support and others to come in join them as our Cal Fire staff are maxed out. (Currently there are over 15 active wildfires in California.)
For safety and peace as our city rebuilds.
Redding is a stunning and beautiful place. This community is one of strength and holds a special place to anyone who has made the visit.
Ways to serve?
Bethel Church is needing volunteers all week to come and serve at the church for the upcoming weeks as we meet the needs of our community. Distribution center hours are from 9am-7pm beginning Monday at the College View Campus. Sign up to volunteer here.
Haven Humane takes care of animals displaced by the fire or that could go with home owners upon evacuation. In the outlying areas of Redding, there are many, many farms, animals, and outdoor pets that couldn’t be taken. This shelter can use volunteers as well.
We are still in week one of restoration and I’m sure needs will arise as they occur.
Have any further questions? Email me at email@example.com.