Samaritan’s Purse, Billy Graham Rapid Response Teams Deployed to California as Wildfires Ravage State

Over 52,000 people have been ordered to evacuate California as 17 major fires rage across the state, with the so-called “Carr Fire” in Redding having killed six people, bringing the state-wide death toll to eight as of Tuesday morning.

Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team have been deployed to help with emergency relief and assist victims, with over 1,000 homes and other buildings having been lost or damaged.

“A disaster relief unit — a tractor trailer filled with equipment and supplies — has been sent to California in response to the deadly Carr fire near Redding. Our truck rolled from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on Sunday,” the humanitarian relief agency said in an update on Monday.

“Samaritan’s Purse program managers are already on the ground assessing the situation in cooperation with local churches and government agencies. We are rapidly trying to determine how best we can serve area residents in Jesus’ Name and will soon be seeking volunteers to assist homeowners as they search for precious belongings beneath the ashes.”

CBS News noted that the Carr Fire has grown to the size of Denver, and despite the thousands of firefighters risking their lives to fight it, only 23 percent of it has been contained so far.

The blazes in California have scorched nearly a quarter of a million acres, with a number of tragic stories emerging.

In Redding, three members of a single family — two young children and their great-grandmother — were killed when they became trapped in their home, which was engulfed by flames.

Ed Bledsoe, the husband of the great-grandmother, Melody, revealed that he did not hear about the evacuation orders in Redding. Bledsoe said that he was with his wife and the two great-grandchildren, 5-year-old James and 4-year-old Emily, when he had to go out to run an errand.

“They wanted to go with me and I wouldn’t take them with me because I didn’t have air conditioning in my damn truck,” the man said. “So I said, no it’s so hot out there, you guys stay here and Grandpa will be right back.”

Fifteen minutes later, he received a phone call urging him to return as the fire was coming up the hill, and though he tried to race back, the roads were blocked.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov