- (Photo: AP / Jae C. Hong)
As firefighters battle raging flames in Southern California, The Salvation Army is on the ground helping survivors get through the days in public shelters.
Thousands of residents have been forced into shelters by The Station fire, the largest of California’s multiple fires, which engulfed more than 100,000 acres within a few hours Monday. Fire officials issued evacuation notices to 10,100 residents whose homes were under threat by Monday afternoon.
"This is a very difficult firefight," said Mike Dietrich, the U.S. Forest Service’s incident commander, according to CNN. "This is a very angry fire that we're fighting right now. Until we can get a change in weather conditions, I'm not overly optimist."
Salvation Army staff and volunteers are currently serving survivors at most of the primary shelters in the area of the fires.
In Palmdale city, located in northeast Los Angeles County, the ministry is supporting the Highland High School shelter population of more than 60 people who had escaped from the Station fire. And a canteen arrived Monday to provide lunches to those at Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita.
The Christian ministry also says it is in communication with other case management agencies in preparation to assist those who have lost their homes.
The Station fire started Wednesday but dramatically increased in size over the weekend due to weather conditions. It now threatens over 12,000 homes, 500 businesses and 2,000 other structures.
California is battling eight blazes across the state with The Station being the largest one. The 49 Fire in Placer County in northern California burned 275 acres by Monday. The Gloria fire in Monterey County burned about 6,500 acres, while the Bryson fire scorched over 3,000 acres, according to the Forest Service.