Dear Friends in Christ,
I have just come from a community briefing at the Red Lodge Civic Center, where several hundred people gathered to hear the latest information about the Cascade Fire. As you may have heard through the media, the fire continues to progress down the canyon along the West Fork, and the ability to fight it is extremely limited by the terrain. The burn area is now in excess of 6,000 acres, and 0% contained. The hope of the professionals is to keep it off Red Lodge Mountain-- indeed, to prevent the fire from cresting the ridges of the canyon on either side-- and to protect populated areas (especially the city of Red Lodge). Given the current conditions, and the weather forecast (gusting winds, low humidity, and storms with dry lightning), officials expect to issue mandatory evacuation orders this afternoon for anyone living west of the intersection of Ski Run Rd. and Highway 212.
I have checked with those Calvary parishioners who live in the affected area, and all with whom I've been able to speak are as ready as they can be to leave, if and when that order comes-- arrangements are in place for storage, places to stay, and care of pets and livestock. Thanks be to God for the generosity and caring spirit of friends and neighbors!
However, that may not be true of all those whose homes are in the path of the fire. If you are able to offer help in some way-- to provide transportation for the infirm, temporary shelter for pets and/or livestock, or in any other way, there are a couple of options (Here I gave local contact info for those coordinating volunteer efforts).
And please, continue to pray-- for the safety of the firefighters, for the strength and well-being of those whose homes and livelihoods are impacted... and for less wind and more rain!