Domestic Disaster Response & Preparedness
Photo: Craig Thompson, Disciple Design
Between July 23 and August 30, 2018, the Carr Fire burned 229,651 acres in the area in and around Redding, CA. Damage assessments estimate the fire damaged or destroyed nearly 2000 structures, including more than 1200 homes. Unusually heavy rains and even a rare heavy snowfall through the fall and winter caused additional challenges for the many people living in temporary shelter, including some still living in tents or on the streets.
Another catastrophic fire broke out in the region on Nov. 8, 2018, in Butte County. Over the next 3 weeks, the fire consumed 153,336 acres, including most of the town of Paradise, and resulting in 85 confirmed fatalities. At least 52,000 people were evacuated, and more than 14,000 homes were severely damaged or destroyed. Just weeks after the fire, heavy rains in the burn scar area caused flash flooding and mudslides, prompting additional evacuations, causing more damage, and slowing the debris removal process.
How Disciples are Involved:
Local Contacts: First Christian Church, Redding; First Christian Church, Paradise; First Christian Church, Chico; TheNorCal Community Recovery Team (Redding); and The Camp Fire Long-Term Recovery Group
For the Carr Fire, Week of Compassion provided early support, including consultation, pastoral care, and relief funds through First Christian Church, Redding, which was open as a short-term shelter. We also provided solidarity grants to 9 affected families from the congregation. Our partners at Children’s Disaster Services provided trauma-informed child care during the evacuations.
In response to the Camp Fire, Week of Compassion worked with First Christian Church, Paradise and First Christian Church, Chico. While FCC Paradise was in the midst of the evacuation zone, FCC Chico was far enough from the fire to serve as an emergency shelter. They also opened their doors to the displaced FCC Paradise congregation for office and worship space. Week of Compassion provided 52 household solidarity grants to families at both churches displaced by the fire.
Week of Compassion continues to work primarily with our local congregations in Redding, Chico, and Paradise, as well as through ecumenical relationships and partners in the National VOAD network. We have provided grants to the NorCal Community Recovery Team in Redding (of which FCC Redding is an active participant) for disaster case management, distribution of material supplies, and home rebuilds. FCC Redding is hosting volunteer teams, coordinated through the NorCal CRT. For more information, contact Wendy Dickens, Volunteer Coordinator: NorCalCRTvolunteers[at]Gmail.com
Through FCC Chico, we are connecting with an interfaith alliance in Butte County on an emotional and spiritual care initiative, facilitating grief support groups. We are also in conversation with the local long-term recovery group and other ecumenical and National VOAD partners around opportunities to assist with the extensive housing needs in the area, particularly in affordable and low-income housing.
How to Help:
Volunteer: FCC Redding is hosting volunteer teams, coordinated through the NorCal CRT. For more information, contact Wendy Dickens, Volunteer Coordinator: NorCalCRTvolunteers[at]Gmail.com Week of Compassion has Mission Station volunteer grants available to help offset the cost for volunteer mission teams. Contact Caroline Hamilton-Arnold for more information
In Butte County, access for rebuilding is still limited by tree and debris removal needs. Volunteer opportunities will increase as the communities move into rebuilding. Local leaders in Butte County are working on processes for receiving volunteers for repair and rebuild. Stay tuned for updates.
Give to Week of Compassion: Designate “US Storms and Fires”
Pray: Continue to pray for the people of Northern California and our Week of Compassion partners.
Advocate: Access to affordable housing was a pre-existing challenge in both Redding and Butte County, a situation the fires exacerbated. Encourage local, state, and federal officials to designate recovery funds for low-income housing and call for enforcement of price-gouging laws, especially in regard to rental rates.
Watch our social media feed for photos, stories, and updates about this recovery.