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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gracia

GOD’S HAND OF PROTECTION


Though the west coast is ablaze, with over 3,000,000 acres burning from over 1,000 individual wildfires, the Lord has protected Thousand Pines… once again. In the last 18 years that I’ve been at Thousand Pines, we have had to evacuate five times from the danger of wildfire. We have had significant fires within a couple of miles of the property four times. We have had small onsite fires (structural and wildfire) on four occasions. We have had countless flare-ups along our mountain range over the years where our emergency response personnel have responded so rapidly. With such precise force, they have briskly extinguished the fires and limited the destruction to a mere handful of acres each time. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had another close call, and this time it was onsite!

As smoke filled the air and the sky began to darken, it was evident on Saturday afternoon, August 29th, that a significant wildfire was burning on our property. A structure fire that consumed a residence on the southwest border of the camp quickly spread north onto our property and immediately began to run through our forest between the pool area and Ponderosa. The wind was pushing the fire rapidly, and nearly 15 acres were immediately devoured. Fortunately, we don’t have many structures in that area, and very few guests and staff were onsite. We evacuated immediately and enacted our emergency action plan.

Within minutes, EMS was on the scene. First came the county sheriff’s deputies and county fire department crews. Next came the National Forest Service fire crew. Right after them, the CHP and CalFire crews arrived. In about an hour, we had seven separate fire crews from all over southern California and the Inland Empire. By the two-hour marker, three air support vehicles dropped water on the fire and retardant around the perimeter. By the 3rd hour, the fire was 100% contained, all our guests had evacuated safely, and our staff were beginning to return to their residences. For the next 72 hours, we helped manage spotfires and flare-ups within the containment zone. But the wildfire was contained, and the camp was saved once again.


I don’t presume to think that just because we escaped significant destruction this time, it’s merely because God favors us for some reason. Many people, all of whom He loves, have recently lost everything due to wildfires. Some have lost property. Others have lost loved ones. Some, their own lives. Our hearts and prayers go out to the millions of people who have been so adversely affected by the disasters of this year’s fire season. Though this year has been extremely difficult for many, one thing is still evident. I am absolutely certain God is not done with Thousand Pines Christian Camp yet. Once again, He has spared this property, these people, and this ministry. And I believe He has done so deliberately. Thousand Pines exists to help people see, know, and experience God. With that mission and calling, we will continue to serve Him in this capacity as long as He allows. Today, we thank Him for His faithfulness. And we thank you for your continued prayers and partnership. May God continue to use us all for His glory and divine purposes!


“… Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

ISAIAH 43:1-2




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