California Fires: Putting Compassion into Action

Rev. Jesse Kearns, pastor, First Christian Church, Chico, California brings us this update about the fires in Weed, California.

The Boles Fire that started on September 15, 2014 spread quickly over 479 acres right outside the town of Weed and destroyed 150 houses and 8 non-residential structures.  Several other residences were damaged as well.  Because the fire was driven by 45 mile-an-hour winds, it quickly burned out of control and residents had very little time to prepare for evacuation.  Many residents lost pets, but fortunately no human lives were lost.  Evacuation shelters were set up in neighboring Mount Shasta City.  Many of the people who lost their homes are still looking for more permanent shelter, but the number of families decreases every day.

Faith communities and businesses from as far away as Southern Oregon and Sacramento responded to the disaster.  With the support of a solidarity grant from Week of Compassion, the Chico Area Interfaith Council and First Christian Church collected money and gift cards to grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and other businesses where displaced residents could buy food and supplies.  Two pickup truck loads of blankets, toiletries, and supplies were also taken to Weed. 

The Salvation Army of Weed is handling the bulk of the distribution of goods and services to displaced families.  Many of the displaced families are volunteering at the Salvation Army to help other families.  One woman who lost her home said, "What else can we do?  We need to help each other through this."  Other organizations are providing counseling and medical care.  The SPCA has volunteers trying to find pets that survived the fire. 

Firefighters will continue to mop up and perform overhaul work within the fire perimeter. Damage Assessment Teams have concluded their inspections and are working with the City and County to produce a final damage inspection report. Excess resources are being released and made available for other incidents as necessary. Utility crews are continuing to assess and repair damaged equipment and infrastructure.

It is your generosity that puts Compassion into Action all around the world, from fire relief in California to assisting displaced persons in Iraq. Thank you for your faithful support to Week of Compassion.

This Week's Responses:

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance
Texas, Flood Relief
Iraq, Displaced People Assistance
Iowa, Storm Damage