Wildfires Threaten California Members

Currently a number of Citygate Network member ministries are under the threat of active fires ablaze in California. Please pray as our brothers and sisters hear forecasts for Santa Ana winds kicking up gusts as high as 80 mph to fuel the fires. The limited containment of the fires and this year’s dry conditions make for the worst of situations. 

Citygate Network Director of Member Engagement Sam Edwards reached out to a number of members near the affected areas. Members report that wildfires are threatening ministry properties, causing evacuations, interrupting services, and stretching agency resources. Air quality is at an all-time low in many communities and numerous schools have been forced to close.

Union Rescue Mission (URM) in Los Angeles lost power to their Hope Gardens Center, where 250 women and children are housed. They temporarily relocated to a nearby church until power could be restored. The power is now back on, but the mission is actively seeking funds to purchase a suitable generator to prepare for the next time, as wildfires are increasing in frequency.

The challenges that California commuters face every day are legendary, and the fires have aggravated many commutes that were already difficult. The team at URM reported that it isn’t unusual for an hour-long commute to take upwards of two or three hours because of road closures and reroutes. Staff members from numerous ministry members have been evacuated themselves and are unsure of what they will return to once evacuations are lifted.

Further north, the Kincade Fire, primarily in Sonoma County, California, has scorched nearly 77,000 acres just above the city of Santa Rosa, California, where Redwood Gospel Mission (RGM) is located. Firefighters’ efforts have been considered “beyond heroic” as they have battled to keep the disaster east of Highway 101. RGM CEO Jeff Gilman—who is also the Sierra District Vice President—reported that the mission had to be evacuated for several days, displacing the 150 people they were hosting. Approximately 80 of them, including many staff, spent that time at a local Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Jeff said Wednesday that they had been without power for five days, “but local people have been tremendous, bringing food and helping us keep our feeding program in place.” The evacuation was lifted late Wednesday afternoon, with the fire at 45 percent containment, but please keep Jeff and his team in your prayers as they continue to minister and serve through these difficult circumstances.

Meanwhile, folks are keeping an eye on the Easy Fire, burning in Southern California. On Thursday morning, that fire had burned over 1,600 acres less than 50 miles to the east of Oxnard, California, where Ventura County Rescue Mission serves.

Please remember donors, volunteers, and board members as well. A large number of ministry supporters have been displaced from their homes. Businesses are shut down, and people that are vital to ministries are living under the threat of losing everything.

Thankfully, a large number of ministries are blessed enough to be out of harm’s way. A number of them are actively sharing much-needed resources with local partners and fellow ministries struggling with the fires.

In the words of Jeff Gilman, “In spite of the more than 200,00 people displaced in our community, we are seeing them come together as never before. God is at work here!”