The 2021 wildfire season is devastating the western United States. A prolonged drought and extreme heat waves are causing wildfires to spread rapidly, which makes them difficult to contain. California is currently the hardest-hit state — the Dixie Fire, in Northern California, is already the second largest wildfire in the state’s history, having burned over 505,000 acres. Tens of thousands of people are under evacuation orders, and hundreds of buildings have been destroyed.
The fires are not limited to California; more than 100 wildfires are now burning throughout 15 states. Smoke from these fires is carried across the country, a sign of the far-reaching effects of worsening wildfires.
Lutheran Disaster Response is working with synods and social ministry organizations in California and other western states to develop a coordinated response to the wildfires. We anticipate that immediate needs will include food and other necessities. Long-term recovery will likely take years. Because emotional and spiritual care is a key aspect of disaster response, the Sierra Pacific Synod is developing a Lutheran Chaplaincy Corps, training rostered leaders and laypeople to offer such care to first responders and survivors after a disaster.
You may also designate gifts to “Lutheran Disaster Response” so we can immediately respond to disasters in the United States and around the world whenever they might strike.
We pray that God may comfort and protect those in the paths of wildfires. Together, we can follow Christ’s call to heal and share hope with those who are suffering.