“During the recent firestorms in Southern California, Ken Tada and I had to evacuate our home. Just up the freeway in Agoura Hills, wildfires burned right to the edge of the Joni and Friends headquarters, but stopped short of causing damage. Although we are praising God for His protection, our hearts go out to many friends and neighbors who lost their homes. Plus, join us in praying for the grieving families who lost loved ones in the nearby Borderline shooting.” – Joni Eareckson Tada.
In a 24-hour span, two tragedies unfolded in California –only hours after a gunman attacked a country music venue in Thousand Oaks, fire forced the evacuation of the town.
Residents in Thousand Oaks had just begun to mourn the 12 people killed late Wednesday at the Borderline Bar & Grill when the second crisis began. For hours after the shooting, people crowded into the Thousand Oaks Teen Center, anxious to find out if their loved ones had survived. It was well past lunchtime before it began to empty out. But by midnight, it was crowded again — this time as a fire evacuation center.
As wildfires spread through Ventura County, thousands of residents were forced to evacuate, including some who had survived the shooting just 24 hours earlier. Three wildfires raging in Northern and Southern California have killed 42 people, making them the deadliest in the state’s history. As of Sunday night, more than 200 people were unaccounted for in Paradise, and officials are bracing for the possibility that the death toll could continue to rise significantly. The Camp Fire has already burned about 117,000 acres and is only about 30 percent contained.
Though the Joni and Friends International Disability Center has been spared from the fires, the center remains under mandatory evacuation today.
As updates about the California fires continue hourly, what a reminder of the need to share His hope and peace . . . and the need to be in prayer for the families and communities which have been impacted as well as for those on the front lines fighting the fires.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)