Disaster Response

KERN COUNTY, CA - Erskine Fire

 The latest is an update for the Erskine Fire as of June 29 at 9:30 a.m. The fire is 46,684 acres and is 60 percent contained. There are more than 1,700 firefighters fighting the fire. There are no evacuations in place and residents can return to their homes with ID for proof of residency. Kern County’s Office of Emergency Services’ transition center is open to support the needs of recently evacuated residents who are now returning to their homes.
United Methodists are responding as follows:

  • There was an early response from First UMC, Bakersfield.  Their trailer was transported to Lake Isabella - filled with clothing, personal hygiene items, blankets, and bottled water and delivered to Highland Chapel;
  • Highland Chapel received the donations from First UMC with several members there to receive and unload the donations;
  • Central Valley District Superintendent, the Rev. Debra Brady is coordinating with the pastors in the area;
  • $4,000 was collected during the Annual Conference Session for this fire response; and
  • The conference is in touch with the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) and they are standing ready to assist with the Conference response to the fire.

It is too early for volunteers other than first responders to be on site.  Watch the United Methodist Disaster Response website for information about forming teams to respond later on in the disaster response process.
For churches wishing to donate through the California-Nevada Conference for immediate relief for the fires, and immediate needs of future disasters, make checks payable to "California-Nevada Annual Conference," and write "CN Disaster Response" in the memo line.  Churches can add their donation in with their tithing form and annotate in the area as "other designated giving."  Mail checks to the Conference Center, P.O. Box 980250, West Sacramento, CA 95698-0250. 

LAKE COUNTY, CA - Rocky/Jerusalem/Valley Fires

The “Rocky Fire” ignited July 29, around 3:30pm, east of Lower Lake burning over 69,400 acres and destroying more than 40 residences and 50 outbuildings before it was contained on August 14.

On August 12, the “Rocky Fire” had merged with the “Jerusalem Fire” burning more than 25,100 acres before it was contained on August 25. Cal-Fire determined that a faulty gas-powered water heater inside an outbuilding was to blame.

The “Valley Fire” started burning on September near Cobb in Lake County, California. The fire started a  after 1:00 pm near Cobb, by 6:30 PM it had burned more than 10,000 acres. By Sunday, the fire had reached 50,000 acres and had destroyed much of the communities near by. The fire ultimately spread to 76,067 acres, killing four people and destroying nearly 2,000 buildings.

The Lake County Long Term Recovery Group Volunteer Coordinators, Jacqui Maxman at jacqui.umcor@cnumc.org or 707-367-4614. John Tomlinson at john.umcor@cnumc.org or 707-367-2778.


The “Butte Fire that started on September 9 in Amador County. The fire broke out at 2:26 P.M. on Wednesday, September 9, just east of Jackson, CA and quickly grew to over 14,500 acres by that evening. By Thursday, the fire had spread into Calaveras County and more than doubled in size to over 32,000 acres. A total of 921 structures have been destroyed including; 549 homes, 368 outbuildings, and 4 commercial properties. 44 total structures damaged.

Friday, September 11, Cal Fire issued a mandatory evacuation as the fire exploded again to 64,000 acres, but at 4:30 P.M., that order was lifted. Later that day, as the fire continued to grow. Amador and Calaveras counties were declared a state of emergency.

The Calaveras Long Term Recovery Group Volunteer Coordinator, Sheryla Condon at sheryla.condon@yahoo.com or 209-534-9628.

If you, your church, and/or family are interested in volunteering with
either of the fire disasters above, please fill in your information by, clicking HERE.

WEED, CA - Boles Fire Recovery

UMVIM Conference Coordinators from Cal-Pac, Doug & Judy Lewis recently visited the town of Weed, CA in Northern California.  They met with Brenda Duchi, the Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) Coordinator, and Pat, the Construction Manager.  While there, they learned that volunteers are urgently needed and wanted, as well as supplies.

 The town of Weed, CA is located in the Cal-Nevada Conference.  In October 2014, a fire was intentionally set and the arsonist has since been sentenced to jail time. Right now, long-term fire recovery efforts are short of volunteers.  They welcome volunteers from everywhere!  

Much of the work needed to be done is fencing and landscaping.  An auger has been rented to dig the post holes but a team that comes with an auger would be very welcome!  The landscaping work needed is mostly rock removal.  The fencing and rock removal work is open to adult and youth & young adult teams.  Adult teams are also needed to help in the rebuild of houses.

Tools are available for teams and mostly supplied by the Santa Rosa UMC Recovery Trailer.

The UMC in Mt. Shasta can provide accommodations for your team with space to sleep and a kitchen. Showers will be arranged offsite at a nearby fitness club.  In addition, the HiLo Motel offers discounted rates to volunteers and RV parking is also available at a discount.  There is also a group house which can be rented out to teams.

Supply donations are very much needed as well!  The following is a listing of donation needs:

Jeans, Underwear, Work boots, Diapers (for babies and the elderly)

The Weed Long Term Recovery Group Volunteer Coordinator Brenda Duchi at boyd.wltrg@gmail.com or by phone at 530.408.0023.

Learn more here...

Disaster Preparedness Resources

Presentations Available:

Rethink Church in a Disaster - a motivational presentation.

Materials Available: 

Local Church Disaster Planning Workbook - Preparing for a Disaster Response Ministry.

Pandemic Procedures for Local Churches - This information can help you provide safer care of your church staff and the congregation during a flu pandemic.

The CA-NV Conference Disaster Preparedness & Response Plan - The California-Nevada Annual Conference has adopted this plan as a structure to facilitate the abilities of the conference, the districts and the local churches to be in ministry to persons in need as a result of a disaster.

Disaster Response Ministry Brochure - for local churches.

Generic Local Church Disaster Response Plan - a disaster preparedness and response plan.

Training Available: 

Early Response Team Training - The mission of an early response team is to provide a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of a disaster. Participants learn about disasters, how to prepare a team of people for a disaster and ways to get involved after a disaster.

Introduction to Church Disaster Planning - In the future, your church may need help or may want to give help in a disaster. In the "Introduction to Church Disaster Planning" training, participants learn about:

  • Disasters,
  • The California-Nevada Conference Disaster Plan,
  • How to prepare your church to better survive and recover from a disaster,
  • And ways for your church to get involved in your community after a disaster.