Southern California Wildfires

The California wildfires which hit in mid-October in seven distinct areas from L.A. to San Diego destroyed half a million acres, caused 600,000 people to evacuate, destroyed over 2,000 structures and left 10 people dead.  Recovery in the major urban areas has been rapid, with most people carrying adequate property insurance.  In the more rural areas, however, it is different situation.

IRFF’s initial field assessment uncovered a back-country mountain area of 5 to 6 non-incorporated communities about 50 miles southeast of San Diego which needed recovery support.  Centered on Potrero, CA, with the local volunteer fire station as the official disaster service site, IRFF partnered with Dr. Patterson of Christian Disaster Response to bring in 20 tons of potatoes, onions and dried beans on November 19th.  

This food was immediately received by families in dire need as the fire had destroyed the power poles and lines leaving them with spoiled refrigerated food items.  Many in this rural area lost work time which caused additional financial hardship.  Some of the product was sent 10 miles down the road to a site Blackwater set up with tents and shower facilities to serve the local community.

The next phase for IRFF is to help in the clean up of the homes and properties affected.  Dust masks and air filters plus other cleaning supplies have been donated but still have to be moved to the site.  IRFF is planning to mobilize volunteers to undertake soot removal and debris cleanup during the first two weeks in December, based on the availability of operating funds.

By: Richard Sapp

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