Famed charismatic church “Bethel” has issued urgent calls to prayer as the Californian town of Redding becomes increasingly engulfed by wildfires. At least one person has been confirmed dead as a result of the fierce inferno, which has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes.
ABC7 has reported that just 3% of the fire is now contained and that the fire that is now within the city limits of Redding. The size of the fire reportedly doubled overnight to some 44,500 acres.
“Right now, we’re inviting the global community to join us in praying for Redding, for Northern California, and for California overall,” Bethel Church posted to its Facebook page yesterday.
The post also gave details on a relief fund, set up to help those affected by this natural disaster: “If you would like to give to Bethel Global Response efforts you can text “$ + Bethel Relief” to 45-777 (Example: 100 Bethel Relief).”
On Monday, July 23, the Carr Fire started in Northern CA within Shasta County. As of this morning, the fire has consumed…
As well as owning a large church campus in Redding, Bethel Church also runs the popular “Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry” (BSSM), which it self-describes as “a ministry training center where our students embrace their royal identity, learn the values of the Kingdom and walk in the authority and power of the King.”
CalFire spokesman Scott McLean stated that the fire is “taking down everything in its path,” according to CBS News. “It’s just a wall of flames. It’s nonstop,” he said.
“Really we’re in a life-saving mode right now in Redding,” said Jonathan Cox, a chief with Cal Fire. “We’re not fighting a fire. We’re trying to move people out of the path of it because it is now deadly and it is now moving at speeds and in ways, we have not seen before in this area.”
McLean added that journeys which normally take about 20 minutes were reaching “two-and-a-half hours long as residents fled to safety.”
The individual who was killed in the fires is reported to have been a bulldozer operator who was privately contracted to clear vegetation in the path of the blaze. At least three firefighters have been badly burnt as they fought to push back the flames.
Bethel Church listed some “specific prayer targets” in its widely shared Facebook post:
“Peace to our state and to those near fire, wisdom and safety for firefighters and officials, rain and the ceasing of wind, the smoke to clear for full visibility, no lightning strikes, and for total and complete containment. God, we invite You to come and bring healing and divine intervention to this situation, and to the fires burning throughout California. You are faithful, and You are sovereign over the weather. Bring restoring rains, and protect this land.”
— CAL FIRE PIO (@CALFIRE_PIO) July 27, 2018
Redding’s Highway Patrol urged those in the path of the fire to evacuate immediately, noting that it was “out of control.”
“The fire is creating a huge wind vacuum and moving very rapidly toward west Redding. This fire is out of control!” the law enforcement agency posted to Facebook. If you see heavy smoke or flames and feel threatened, leave… don’t wait for evacuation calls. If you live near to the Sacramento River between Eureka Way and Keswick Dam, I would start packing and get out now.”
Some of the images coming out of Redding are pretty terrifying:
Please keep these Northern California communities outside Redding & Whiskeytown Lake in your thoughts & prayers. I previously served the community of Old Shasta as a volunteer & also a firefighter for CAL FIRE at the Shasta STA #58 in the Shasta-Trinity Unit.#CarrFire (? UNK). pic.twitter.com/AcG7Kk7iH4
— Chris Baker (@instructorbaker) July 26, 2018
Another home falls victim to the #CARRFire in Redding @GoodDaySac @GoodDayMarianne @CBSNews @CBS13MikeD @DinaKupfer @CBSSacramento @morganstu1 @BethanyCrouchTV @CBSThisMorning pic.twitter.com/UcrLYZeTwY
— David Grashoff (@CameraGuyDave1) July 27, 2018
— PB (@PBandJammers) July 27, 2018
Bethel Music artist, worship leader and daughter-in-law of senior pastor Bill Johnson, Jenn Johnson, also took to social media to solicit prayers from her 265,000 followers:
Bethel pastor Kris Vallotton also took the Instagram and called people to pray for the Northern California town:
Other residents urged those fleeing the flames to leave buckets of water out for the many stranded animals.
Hi if you live in redding or close to the fire please leave buckets of water out the animals! Theyare STRESSING and running all through redding! Please and thank you
— Makenna Mohler (@makenna_mohler) July 26, 2018
But the main message coming out is: if you are in Redding, evacuate immediately. Follow Cal Fire on Twitter for evacuation details and updates.
If you are in Redding, EVACUATE.
Authorities have made clear that the fire is dangerous and unpredictable and if you feel threatened, you should go.
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) July 27, 2018
Lift up this community in your prayers!