President declares state of emergency over California’s wildfires

By October 25, 2007

USA(MNN)– More evacuees joined the nearly one million
displaced by California's wildfires Wednesday. 

An estimated 950,000 people have sought refuge from the
fires in shelters, hotels and at friends' homes. President Bush on Wednesday boosted federal
aid to the fire-ravaged area by signing a major disaster declaration. The move
will speed federal dollars to people whose property losses aren't covered by
insurance.

Wildfires are raging from north of Los Angeles all the way
to the Mexican border. As of Wednesday,
more than 645 square miles in seven counties had been consumed by some 16
fires, flames fueled by high desert winds and hot temperatures.

There are aid groups poised to help, but until the fires are
out, it's smarter to give the fire fighters the space to do their jobs.

Bill Adams is the Disaster Response Services coordinator
with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. He says because they're not first responders,
they have to monitor the situation as they ready their response.

Already, the challenge in rebuilding looms, as it did in the
wildfires of '03. "Fundraising becomes very difficult because people
around the country see, on the news, the expensive homes, and everybody thinks
that the people who are being affected have a lot of money.   That's not the case. We spent over a year rebuilding the homes up
in the mountains, and there were a lot of low-income homes there. But we had to
get our money from the Red Cross." 

Adams says their work always opens new doors for ministry.
"When they see the good works that caring Christians bring to a community,
it affects them. They always ask the question, and we tell our people, 'Be
prepared to give an answer.' So, invariably, we have the opportunity to pray
with people and to share the Gospel." Click here if you can help those who will be most affected by the fires.

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