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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, September 08, 2006

Beginning the aftermath

The fires continue here, though not in our area. The best updates are actually found on the county's emergency services site, here.

Those who sill have homes in the south-- the vast majority of the more than 800 evacuees, thank God-- have returned to them. The rest of the evacuees over north and northwest (another 200-plus) should be able to return this afternoon. Barring any hot spot flare ups (a real possibility in these dry conditions, but not an immediate threat), the worst seems to be over, and life can begin to resume its usual rhythms.

With a few exceptions. Our organist will be rebuilding, from a distance. She and her husband have shifted their base of operations to their "winter home" back east-- leaving about a month earlier than they usually do (infinitely preferable to hanging out in a local hotel room with Liam. He's a therapy dog, and very well-behaved, and roughly the size of New Jersey). Their daughter is a home designer, and has already been given her marching orders for new house plans. Thanks be to God, they have that option; they were not left totally homeless.

Other local residents, of course, were not so lucky. About 26 homes were lost, and roughly the same number of outbuildings-- barns, sheds, garages, etc. And of course, land. The nearly 200,000 acres that have burned included a whole lot of pasture, as well as public lands upon which ranchers had grazing rights. This is going to be an expensive winter for a number of people, as they sell off stock and have to buy hay for the remaining herd. Again, some ranchers will weather that better than others. There is concern about the possibility of some folks having their homes survive the fire, only to lose them to the bank if money gets too tight.

We were discussing this earlier in the week. I do not know people in the area well enough yet to be aware of specific economic issues, and who's finances are tight or not; so a couple of parishioners are going to do some checking around, to see who needs help, and how best we can offer it.

Again, thank you-- for your prayers, for your support, for your emails and offers of tangible assistance as well. People here have been amazed; they aren't used to being noticed much outside our state borders (Montana is rather off the radar for national news media-- most of the time, I think they forget we're even a state). The outpouring has been wonderful for their spirits.


Blogger Theresa Coleman said...

Still in prayer for you and yours.

September 08, 2006 5:34 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Prayers for you, your organist and your community. Besides prayers is there anything you need or we can do for you all?

September 11, 2006 10:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nothing like a very dramatic start to ministry.

September 14, 2006 7:56 PM  

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