50 homes in one Latter-day Saint ward destroyed by fire

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

The wildfire played a devilish brand of hopscotch as it swept north alongside the highway.

Flaming embers rode dry gales, leaped miles ahead and dropped haphazardly from the sky on a single home or business while sparing the one next to it.

Related: Wildfire destroying dozens of Latter-day Saint homes in Oregon

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.

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.

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.”

From Washington to California, the church has seen 125 members’ homes damaged or destroyed by wildfires, according to a church spokesman. Church headquarters has sent three truckloads of food to areas in need and has scheduled eight more. That aid, as well as help with clothing and shelter, is being provided to everyone in need in affected communities through local food pantries and other resources.

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