- (Photo: Reuters / Joshua Lott)
Christians throughout Arizona have launched disaster relief efforts to aid victims of the Wallow Fire, which broke the record as the largest wildfire in the history of the state.
The Wallow Fire has scorched over 478,000 acres as of Wednesday afternoon and forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes. For two weeks, homeowners had to live in camps, trailers or stay with relatives.
The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in Scottsdale deployed shower trailer units last week to support about 130 evacuees staying at a shelter in Lakeside, according to Baptist Press. The group also has kitchen crews on standby.
"Our shower trailer units ... provide the shower services that a lot of the shelter areas lack," Larry Hyde, Arizona disaster relief coordinator, told BP.
"This gives us excellent opportunities to put our disaster relief, our Southern Baptist people in personal contact with the disaster victims and gives us many good opportunities to be able to minister and share Jesus with the displaced people."
One Southern Baptist pastor helped find housing for nearly 30 of his church members who had to evacuate from Eager, according to BP.
Larry Hamblen, pastor of Jesus First Church, even welcomed some people into his own home and allowed them to stay in tents on his lawn or trailers on his property. Together, they have been eating meals and praying.
The Salvation Army has also been assisting in disaster relief services for Wallow Fire victims, providing over 2,700 meals, 673 snacks and 206 food boxes to evacuees.
Two people are being questioned about the abandoned campfire that authorities believe started the devastating fire on May 29.