Ministering to Families Devastated by Northern California’s Caldor Fire

GRIZZLY FLATS, CA — California’s Caldor Fire burned 479 of the 660 homes in Grizzly Flats. Samaritan’s Purse volunteers helped homeowners recover precious items from the ashes and shared with them the hope found only in Jesus Christ.

Woman’s voice:

You could feel the heat coming. You could hear it– the fire– coming up the canyon. You could see the ash, it looked like snow.

2nd Woman’s voice:

They’ve lost everything that they know.

Man’s voice:

You’re standing in the middle of the town that once was alive with people walking, and to see the whole town wiped out, it was nothing I ever expected.

3rd Woman’s voice:

We have 660 homes in Grizzly Flats. 479 are burnt.

Jacob RutzSamaritan’s Purse:

In August, there was a fire in the Grizzly Flats area– the Caldor fire– and then began to move east all the way to south Lake Tahoe. So it covers a lot of California, and then even some into Nevada as well.

Sharon DarnerVolunteer:

There’s always that element of excitement, especially when we get in a circle and we pray out. The minute we get here, we park, we run to the truck, and we just can’t wait to get in our suit, zip it up, put our masks on, our gloves, and ask the homeowner, “What are you looking for?”

Julie Roberts and Breanna IversonHomeowners:

So they were looking for, like, a couple ornaments. The main one was my baby bell.

It was– There was a pillar right here, and it was on the pillar.
My husband built our house two years ago. It was his dream. It was a beautiful home. I cried before we even got to the road. You know, it was–

It’s devastating.

Jacob Rutz:

We’re coming alongside these homeowners. We’re helping them look for any personal items that may have survived the fire; and we can come in and pray with them during that time, and give them that sense of closure that we’ve thoroughly looked through their home.

Breanna Iverson:

My baby bell, they found it. And you can still see–

Julie Roberts:

Breanna Lee, 1986. Breanna Lee.

Breanna Iverson:

And it says “Baby’s First Christmas”.

Julie Roberts:

So it’s a sign of hope that they found it.

Breanna Iverson:

Wow, thank you guys.

I feel like there’s a reason for everything, and it’s like, sad as this is, like, not only has it brought my family closer, my husband has told many people, like, it took my house burning down to realize, like, how much I want to spend time with my family. And I’m just excited for the new journeys that we have…

Julie Roberts:

Sometimes when bad things happen, better things come out of it in the future.

Jacob Rutz:

A lot of homeowners ask, “Where do you find your hope?” Or “Where can I find hope after this?” And it’s just the perfect opportunity for us to say, “We find our hope in Jesus.” And every day, we wake up and thank the Lord that we’re here and feel His love on us, and we want to spread that love to these hurting people and these hurting communities.


Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Samaritan’s Purse International Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) program is committed to meeting the critical needs of victims of war, poverty, famine, disease, and natural disaster. We stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. The DART specializes in providing water, food, shelter, and medical care while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

CONTACT: Melissa Nystrom, [email protected]


Read more news on Non Profit / Faith Based Organizations, and Disaster Relief.


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