Church offers relief to California fire victims

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Newsroom
Latter-day Saints and community members gather at a warehouse in Oroville, California, to package and distribute food and supplies to those impacted by a wildfire that heavily damaged Paradise, California. (mormonnewsroom.org)

California’s duel wildfires Camp Fire and the Woolsey fire are 100 percent contained as of Nov. 25 after nearly 18 days of struggle. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered relief to the fire victims and aided the displaced persons throughout the destruction, according to mormonnewsroom.org.

The Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire ignited Nov. 8 and together burned more than 250,285 acres as of Nov. 25, according to the California Government incident information website.

The fires’ cause of ignition is still under investigation, but some believe the fires were started by a fallen electrical line, reported The New York Times.

Together the fires claimed at least 90 lives and destroyed 15,472 structures, many of which were residential homes, according to the California Government incident information website.

According mormonnewsroom.org, members in Oroville, California, filled 5,000 boxes full of food, personal hygiene kits, towels, toothbrushes and other toiletries to help Camp Fire victims on Nov. 17.

Oroville mayor Linda Dahlmeier commented on how swiftly members in the area responded to the request for help, wrote mormonnewsroom.org.

“It’s amazing,” Dahlmeier said about the Nov. 17 relief effort. “The word was put out last night, and this is what we have today.”

The devastation of the fire was widespread, but the town called Paradise was hit hardest. President Donald Trump visited the town on Nov. 17, according to ABC News.

Trump described the fire’s damage as “total devastation,” reported ABC News.

Other members of the Church in the surrounding areas opened meetinghouse doors to the displaced community, according to mormonnewsroom.org. Chico residents donated shoes, toiletries, food and clothing to those in need.

According to mormonnewsroom.org, Paradise resident Beth Brogden said she appreciated the help as she didn’t have the basic supplies she needed.

“We all had to get out so quickly we didn’t have time to empty our houses,” Brogden said.

Other leaders like Kevin W. Pearson visited and helped the fire victims, mormonnewsroom.org wrote. Pearson is a senior Church leader who ministers to the North America, Southwest and West areas. He met with many displaced members and offered his empathy and encouragement.

“When things seem at their worst and you don’t know how you’re going to figure it out, I’ve learned from my own life that He’s (Jesus Christ) there,” Elder Pearson said.

CNN reported that the National Weather Service said the area burned by the fires will be vulnerable to flooding for up to five years following.

Members of the Church who want to help those affected by the fires and mudslides can find out more information at the Church’s humanitarian website.

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