Evangelical churches and Christian relief agencies are helping those affected by devastating fires that swept across Southern California this fall.

The fires, which caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and resulted in at least three deaths, burned areas in Malibu, Altadena, and Laguna Beach. Arson was suspected in several fires, which were fanned by hot dry winds.

One of the top priorities in the aftermath was sandbagging to help protect surviving homes from an anticipated onslaught of mud slides. Heavy rains, which typically hit during the winter months, have sent mud down hills whose vegetation had been burned off. World Vision, based in Monrovia, California, near one of the fire areas, is organizing sandbagging projects in several areas.

“We have also been accepting donations of money, which we are sending through the churches to whoever needs it,” said spokesperson Rachel Repko. “We have raised about $25,000, which we are funneling to the churches.”

Among the churches World Vision has been helping is Malibu Presbyterian Church, where 21 member families lost homes to fire. The church has become a citywide coordinating center for disaster relief.

Coordinator Kevin Smith said services provided by the Malibu church include sandbagging, setting up relief housing, boarding pets, child care, and helping those who had businesses at home find temporary offices and services. At least 100 people have been helped by the church.

The Salvation Army, which had a camp facility near Malibu that narrowly missed becoming a fire catastrophe, opened the camp to more than 900 firefighters who needed a place to sleep and shower. In the Altadena blaze, the Army dispensed more than 8,800 meals to fire and public-safety workers in a 72-hour ...

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