October 2017 Fires

October 2017 Fires

For specific information about fires burning in California, and evacuation updates, please visit CalFire's website. Cal Fire also has a Facebook page and Twitter updates.

Most Gracious God:
Hear our prayer for all whose lives are impacted by this crisis.
Shield and deliver all emergency responders;
 give wisdom and guide those in authority;
watch over all who have been forced to evacuate, and all who wait with uncertainty.
Comfort those who mourn great loss. Help those who wish to help
 to be patient and effective in compassion. Bless us all, and help us trust in you.
 In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
- Bishop Barry Beisner

(Oct. 16, 2017) After a week, many of the fires are approaching containment, but there is ash and smoke everywhere in the area. Read today's update, with donation and volunteer opportunity links, here.

(Oct. 14, 2017) Read the weekend update here.

(Oct. 13, 2017) Read the day's update here.

(Oct. 12, 2017) Read the day's update here.

(Oct. 11, 2017) After some success in slowing down the fires on Tuesday, the winds picked up again. Unlike previously reported, St. Helena was not evacuated, and Grace Church members have opened its parish hall and kitchen to evacuees from other areas. Evacuations were ordered in Solano County, as fires in other areas claimed more lives. Emergency Declarations have been proclaimed by Gov. Jerry Brown for Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Solano counties. The Ridge Fire in Clearlake is now 100% contained at 87 acres.

The Rev. James Richardson and Deacon Pamela Moore held a noon Eucharist at Incarnation, Santa Rosa, for those seeking shelter from the fires or wishing to pray for all affected. They both are staying at the church tonight. (Oct. 12 UPDATE: The church and rectory came under an advisory order to evacuate, so all evacuees were moved to safer shelters and Jim and Pamela went to stay with relatives.)

Former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, now assisting bishop in San Diego, said in an email to Bishop Barry:  "Please know that you continue in my prayers in the midst of the inferno.  I give thanks for the compassionate and effective response of so many in Northern California.  If we can support in any other ways, you have only to ask."

St. Paul's, Benecia, has partnered with Northgate Christian Fellowship to collect donations for victims of the Napa and Sonoma County fires. Items may be brought to St. Paul's Parish Hall or office during business hours (Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.) or on Sunday. St. Paul's will then deliver the donations to Northgate for distribution. Donations will be collected until further notice. St. Luke's, Woodland, is also serving as a drop-off point for donations.The following donations are being collected:

- lip balm and eye drops
- air mattresses/cots/ mats
- baby wipes, formula, diapers
- toiletries and feminine hygiene products
- water/vitamin drinks/Ensure
- face masks
- individually wrapped snacks
- coffee
- hand sanitizer
- reusable shopping bags

Donations to the bishop's discretionary fund can be made online or you may make a donation through Episcopal Relief & Development; Bishop Barry, the Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin, Margaret Dunning, diocesan disaster relief coordinator, several clergy in the fire area, and Office of the Bishop personnel have been in daily teleconference with Episcopal Relief & Development officials to organize aid.

Finally, we have to share this sweet video of a group of hotshot Samoan firefighters coming through the woods near St. Helena, singing a hymn:


(Oct. 9-10, 2017) The geographical area of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California was hit by 18 different fires on Sunday night and Monday morning, destroying hundreds of structures and forcing the evacuation of thousands, including residents of an Episcopal retirement community and patients from several hospitals. More fires and evacuations came midweek.

"These tragic fires have greatly impacted some of our congregations. Some of our people have experienced great loss," said Bishop Barry Beisner. "Thank you for holding the people of this diocese in your heart."

Bishop Barry, the Rev. Canon Andrea McMillin and Margaret Dunning, diocesan disaster relief coordinator, all spoke over the phone on Tuesday morning, working on coordinating immediate relief efforts. They will continue to meet as the situation unfolds.

The Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa opened its doors as a shelter for some of the displaced, as did Emmanuel, Grass Valley. St. Stephen's, Sebastopol; Grace, St. Helena; 

Several highways were closed off for hours Monday as the fires jumped major arteries. All throughout the diocese, air quality ranged from somewhat smoky to extremely toxic. 

Officials said fires have scorched parts of nine different counties, including Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino, Nevada and Yuba.

The causes of the fires remain under investigation.

"As this fast-developing crisis gets clearer, we will be keeping our friends informed," Beisner said. He thanked the many people from around the church and community that contacted the diocese with "expressions of concern, assurances of prayers, and offers of assistance." 

A CalFire evacuation checklist is available for download here.

1 comment (Add your own)

1. William Bruneau wrote:
Willits and Saint Francis in the Redwoods is alive and well. Our Redwood fire is at 30,000 acres and is 5% contained, but we are fortubante that the wind is now coming from the North (until Saturday at least) thus blowing the fire back on itself, and saving our town of Willits and our church. The first two days we only had 400 firefighters on an incredibly fast spreading fire so things were grim. Now we have 1400, with increased other resources growing, so things are looking up.

Many of us are still under evacuation orders or advisories. Our Ecology Action research farm has been evacuated, so on one is tending the beds. We do have members of our congregation that have lost everything, fleeing in their pajamas and nothing else. Pray for them and for us, and for everyone else in California threatened by this incredible disaster.

Thu, October 12, 2017 @ 10:52 AM

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