Church members and leaders in Oregon rally together to provide relief from the fire

The Almeda Fire in southern Oregon has consumed at least 2,357 homes and residences, making it one of the 10 most-devastating American fires in 50 years. The fire damaged or destroyed 50 homes in the Bear Creek Ward, where ward members and leaders, as well as neighboring congregations, rallied to the aid of displaced families.

The Bear Creek Ward Relief Society presidency created a color-coded spreadsheet to keep track of the needs of the ward members. The elders quorum presidency soon began to contribute information to the worksheet. Volunteers took in laundry, shared generators, found apartments or mobile homes or helped others outside the Church find shelter. 

Within three hours of learning that her house was gone, Misty Pantle, a member of the Bear Creek ward, and her family had temporary shelter with another ward member. 

“We felt carried in the ways I think the Savior would carry us if he could in a physical form,” Pantle told the Deseret News. “He moved them to help.”

A neighborhood in Talent, Ore., that was destroyed by the Almeda Fire is pictured on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Sisters Tammy Johnson and Misty Pantle and Pantle’s three teenage children shared one of the homes in this neighborhood destroyed when the Almeda Fire swept through the towns of Talent and Phoenix in southern Oregon.
A neighborhood in Talent, Ore., that was destroyed by the Almeda Fire is pictured on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020. Sisters Tammy Johnson and Misty Pantle and Pantle’s three teenage children shared one of the homes in this neighborhood destroyed when the Almeda Fire swept through the towns of Talent and Phoenix in southern Oregon. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

In a neighboring ward’s sacrament meeting, Elder David Wright, an Area Seventy, referred to the vapors of darkness at Christ’s death in the ancient Americas. 

“We’ve had our vapors of darkness in this valley,” he said. “We’ve had our own destruction in this valley. And then after the destruction, came the Savior.”

Read more about the Church members affected by the fire in Oregon on Deseret.com.