Some may be wondering about the wildfires in Southern California and if Santa Clarita and TMC have been affected. The strong Santa Ana winds are driving numerous fires out of control as they often do in SoCal. As I write this on Sunday at 10:30pm PST, the closest fires to TMC and our extension-campus dorm are in Canyon Country, which is about five miles to the north. There were at least 5-10 families in our church that evacuated tonight, some with fires on the hills directly behind their houses. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of more evacuations if the winds don’t let up in the next day.
The college hasn’t evacuated, and I haven’t heard anything about classes being canceled tomorrow. We do have a plan in place in case evacuation is necessary. I don’t foresee that happening, but you never know with the strength and unpredictability of the Santa Ana winds. Right now we’re mainly affected by the smoky air. Earlier this afternoon the sky was a bright rust color (see pictures below) and the smoky smell has gotten pretty heavy as it’s settled into the Santa Clarita Valley throughout the evening.
I may not get the directions or distances exactly right, but these are the fires I’ve heard about today (I’m sure there are several more that I’m not remembering or haven’t heard about):
- Malibu (hour south)
- Ontario (hour east)
- Orange County (hour southeast)
- Irvine (hour southeast)
- Castaic (15 minutes north)
- Agua Dulce (30 minutes northeast)
- Canyon Country (10 minutes north)
Below are a few pictures and a video I took this afternoon from our block. Oak Manor and Cornerstone are the two TMC-owned apartment complexes that I oversee. They function as one joint male dormitory nicknamed the OMC. My family lives in Oak Manor (the tan building at left right next to the black PathFinder in the first picture below).
There are several things you can pray for as the fires continue:
- Pray for strengthened faith and lengthened perspective among believers who will lose some of their earthly possessions.
- Pray that unaffected believers would have the eyes to see that this is a foretaste of what will happen to our material possessions, and that we would make future choices accordingly.
- Pray that unbelievers who lose precious possessions will see that life is more than possessions.
- Pray that we would look for needs and jump at opportunities to serve our fellow believers and the surrounding community.
- Pray that we would not take the losses lightly and justify our lack of compassion with casual, unfeeling, throwaway platitudes about providence (I believe deeply in divine providence but I also believe deeply that such belief doesn’t warrant cold-heartedness towards those who have been broken by providence).
- Pray that all would be reminded of the just fires of hell and the need for repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.