Volunteer Minister Disaster Relief for California Fires
- The Camp Fire has become the deadliest wildfire in California history.
- As many as 90% of wildland fires in the U.S. are caused by people, not by natural causes.
Three major fires broke out on Thursday, 8 November in Northern and Southern California. The Camp Fire started on Camp Creek Road, an hour and a half north of Sacramento, decimating the entire town of Paradise and over 10,000 structures. Over 70 fatalities have been reported so far, and there are still 1,000 people unaccounted for.
The Woolsey and Hill fires ignited in Ventura County, just 75 miles (120 km) outside of Los Angeles. The fires consumed more than 100,000 acres of land so far and caused a mandatory evacuation of 250,000 residents—including the entire city of Malibu.
An emergency IAS grant was immediately provided with hundreds of Volunteer Ministers flooding to the area to help those affected by the fires.
A Volunteer Minister tent has been set up outside a major firefighter base camp and another tent has been set up in a main evacuation center, providing immediate assistance to emergency personnel and evacuees. The VMs have become a stable point, helping with anything and everything needed—from running the organization and distribution of supplies, to providing spiritual relief with assists. In Malibu, the VMs have gone behind the lines to rescue abandoned animals and bring them safely to shelters.
Due to the toxic smoke reaching as far as Sacramento, the Captain of the City Fire Department contacted the VMs to help pass out 200,000 smoke masks to civilians.
Additionally, with more than 9,000 firefighters working 24/7, VMs are helping daily to prepare home-cooked meals, distribute water and deliver assists—doing anything needed to relieve them in their efforts. For example, one day over 1,600 lunches were prepared for the firefighters with a special thank you message drawn on the bags from children. After receiving one of the lunches, a firefighter broke into tears and told the volunteers that he was so touched by it and it was the best part of his day.
If you would like to help as a Volunteer Minister, please contact the International VM Headquarters in Los Angeles at 1-800 HELP-4-YU (1-800-435-7498). Volunteers are needed.
The Volunteer Minister disaster response efforts are made possible by the support of IAS members.