Our staff, equipment and volunteers are assisting affected families and communities.
With more than 200 wildfires raging in British Columbia’s hot, tinder-dry interior, the provincial government has declared a state of emergency and asked Samaritan’s Purse to respond.
Thousands of residents have fled and hundreds of homes have already been lost, including nearly every house in the town of Lytton.
“It’s heartbreaking to see how many people have lost their homes and livelihoods—and how many more are fearing the same thing as fires threaten their communities,” said Tammy Suitor, Samaritan’s Purse’s Canadian disaster relief manager. “Our prayer is that we will bring comfort to the hurting and share hope in Jesus’ Name.”
“Our prayer is that we will bring comfort to the hurting and share hope in Jesus’ Name.”
Your prayers and support can make a difference for families who have lost almost everything.
Sifting Through the Rubble
Even as the wildfires continue, we have moved a convoy of vehicles, staff, and equipment—including a specially equipped Disaster Relief Unit—to a partner church in the region to help homeowners recover.
“Our experience helping fire victims in previous years has taught us that the opportunity for residents to return to their homes with trained volunteers to safely sift through rubble and recover whatever wasn’t burned is a critical step in their recovery,” said Suitor. “We are honored to be able to help.”
Samaritan’s Purse’s Disaster Relief Units are tractor trailers outfitted with disaster recovery equipment including generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear for volunteers. They also serve as volunteer coordination centers, and are equipped with a self-contained office, communications system, and other supplies.
Since 2011, Samaritan’s Purse has been putting donations to work helping people and communities affected by wildfires in Alberta and B.C. That includes:
• A massive 2016 blaze that destroyed more than 2,400 buildings (most of them homes) in Fort McMurray, AB
• 2017 fires in the B.C. communities of Boston Flats and Williams Lake
• The 2018 Telegraph Creek B.C. fire, where we responded in partnership with the Tahltan First Nation
Partnering with churches
In each case, relief teams work with partner churches to come alongside homeowners and offer physical and spiritual aid in Jesus’ Name. Besides sifting for anything that survived the fires, our volunteers also visit undamaged homes that have long been without electricity in order to remove fridges and freezers full of dangerous rotting food.
Samaritan’s Purse’s “sister” organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, often works alongside by providing trained volunteer chaplains to comfort and pray with volunteers, first responders, and disaster victims. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are accompanying Samaritan’s Purse volunteers in helping wildfire victims in Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
Please pray for the people of Lytton and other threatened towns and First Nations communities in the B.C. interior. And please consider how you can partner with Samaritan’s Purse to be the hands and feet of Jesus to families trying to recover after these devastating fires. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, ESV).
Your prayers and support will make a difference for families who have lost almost everything.
Note: This story was originally published July 7 and updates were made on July 22, August 4, and August 10.