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The Shock and Awe of California Wildfires



‘We can’t stop it’

Officials all but concede defeat to wildfires as estimated 1 million evacuate

California wildfirePicture and headline from MSNBC Wednesday morning

“It’s like a bomb went off. It’s like shock and awe. It is shock and awe,” says Kim Wurm.

From her home, she spoke of the fires in the mountain areas of Running Springs and Lake Arrowhead where more than 200 homes have burned. Picture from LATimes

I’m taking this moment to honor the brave heroes of the hour: our firefighters. Because of them my home and the homes of my sons and my daughter are still standing. Because of them my irreplaceable pictures are intact, my important documents preserved, my old books and treasured items from our 51 years of marriage are safe. I salute their raw courage, their valor, their strength and commitment. I pray for renewed energy for them today as they continue the fight against these horrendous fires.

Edit Wednesday 8:15 am: It is reported that exhausted firemen are throwing down sleeping bags on the lawns of homes to get rest. God bless them and renew their strength.

Edit Wednesday 10:20 am: says: The signal at my
folk’s house was strong, which they said is a very good sign that the house is still standing. If you are interested in checking your lines
call Verizon repair at 800 483 1000.

Edit 5:00 pm Wednesday Mountain Area Update

Note: Crestline is in the Grass Fire Area, still not contained at all, although the winds have shifted, and our home at this point is safe.

Update 4:30 PM

As of 4 PM, fire officials report that the Grass Fire is 30% contained and the Slide Fire is still at 0%. The Grass Fire has burned about 1,000 acres and was primarily burning within its perimeter today with little expansion. The Slide Fire continues to grow and has burned just over 10,000 acres. A volunteer firefighter who fought the blaze in Green Valley Lake and Running Springs said that for every one house there were unable to save, firefighters managed to save five. The fire has burned down Highway 330 to near the middle passing lane and 1N09.

A number of residents have been reportedly hiking up to reach the mountain communities or trying to use unauthorized roads. Please remember that this is a dangerous fire and can change rapidly. In 2003, a resident died while trying to hike up from Silverwood Lake after falling into a ravine. Please give law enforcement and fire officials the time and space to ensure safety and protect property.

Report from the Crestline, Lake Arrowhead area

Fire Operations Enters Second Night

Update 2:45 AMFire operations have entered a second night after a devastating two days for the mountain communities. Best estimates indicate that at least 300 homes have been destroyed between Green Valley Lake and Twin Peaks, with the greatest loss of property in the Running Springs area today. Mixed reports of homes and businesses lost have frustrated and confused residents and business-owners. Meanwhile, the fire continues to threaten and destroy homes and businesses.

While firefighters are risking their lives trying to save homes, there have been dozens of reports of looters across the mountains. Deputies have not been able to confirm many of the reports, but there have been some arrests. Even worse, authorities made an arrest of a motorcyclist who was allegedly witnessed trying to start an arson fire near Camp Seely on Tuesday evening.On Tuesday evening the Slide Fire advanced through much of the Rowco neighborhood of Running Springs, as well as Fredalba and Smiley Park. The fire reached as far east as Mount R and westward to between Heaps Peak and Nob Hill. Reports of structures lost poured into dispatchers as strained resources were rendered helpless.

Edit: 7:30 am Fox News just reported that 400 homes in this area have now been lost. A suspected arsonist has just been arrested.

Edit: 10:45 am

According to John Miller of the US Forest Service, the westward advance of the Slide Fire stalled overnight. Flames got as far west as Heaps Peak between the waste transfer station and the radio towers. The front to the south of Green Valley Lake has moved toward Highway 18 and Snow Valley. It was less than 1/4 mile from the highway.

In the Running Springs area, catastrophic fire activity burned through Fredalba and Smiley Park with widespread losses. The fire burned along the southern edge of Running Springs, eastward, to the Rimwood Ranch area.

With an evergrowing air force of fixed wing, rotary wing, and jet tankers, fire officials are gearing up for a massive assault. Miller stated that super scooper aircraft and other resources are being moved into California from other states and Canada.

Picture of firemen in our area Courtesy of LATimes

This DC 10 is used to drop water onto the fires in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The skies over Crestline and the other mountain areas are a constant roar as these helicopters fly over, drop water, then return to Lake Gregory to suck up more water.

Pictures of planes from Ray’s public gallery.

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My devotional blog is here.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

26 replies on “The Shock and Awe of California Wildfires”

Brother Webb–It is such a treat to hear from you–and also to receive the printed material you send to my husband. It is excellently written and honestly pres ented.

So far, our home in California is not directly threatened this year, although there are some fires in the south. These fires are terrible things.

Wouldn’t we love for you to visit our church and sing Yes, He will…well, if it doesn’t happen on this earth, maybe there will be a venue in Heaven where we rehearse our old earthly songs, and you can belt out those great words.

Please say hello to your sweet wife and all your family.


Sister Buxton:
I read your updates all the time. I pray that you and Brother Buxton are well and that you and your family’s homes are kept safe. If I was ably to travel like I used to, I would like to go to Lake Havesau for a visit and see your church and sing “Yes He will.”
David said in Psalm 91 “…a thousand shall fall at your side. Ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shaall you see the reward of the wicked.
Robert Webb


Our congregation took special time in the middle of our service to pray for all of SoCal and we will continue to pray until the fires are completely out. We have so many church people affected by the fires and then to hear you tell how Steve’s church is also responding to help is just wonderful. Blessings to them all.
P.S. Thanks for keeping us posted. You are better than CNN. 🙂


Sis. Buxton,
You and your family have been in our continued prayers. Glad that your house is safe. We love you!
Debbie Saiz


Today was much better than yesterday – the sky was only light brown instead of dark brown and black. How pitiful is that – being thrilled to see a light brown sky? Ash is still falling like snowflakes, and if you’re outside your eyes burn and your throat constricts. It smells like burnt toast everywhere. At the end of the day your hair and clothes reek of smoke.

Late this afternoon we think we saw some patches of blue sky through the haze, and it was a beautiful sight! We can’t see the mountains even though they’re practically in our backyard – they’re still covered with smoke.

I’m so glad you’re not here to experience this – it’s really awful. And, I’m filled with gratitude that your house and all of your family’s homes seem to be fine. We’ve got a big fat mess to clean up now.

I love you dearly and miss you desperately. Please give your hubby a big hug from us, and have him give you one from us. I’ll be there soon to deliver the hugs in person!

Lots of Love,



I’m sure your cousin is doing very well at Qualcomm, for from all reports, the people who are there are being treated extremely well.

Some of Steve’s people have gone down there to volunteer their services. Everyone is rallying in such a magnificent way.

Thanks sincerely for your prayers. It’s been a stressful couple of days for multiplied thousands of people.


I am praying for you all! My cousin has been evacuated to the “stadium” in San Diego. I haven’t heard anything from her. I trust she is safe. I’ve been reading your blog to stay updated on you and your family. I’m glad all is well. We will continue praying. Love you!


THANK YOU, EVERYBODY for your continued prayers, and for being here to express your love and good wishes.

ESTHER, I talked with Andrew an hour or so ago and they have left Hollister and are heading south. They will be traveling on Freeway 5, which has alternately been closed and opened. When we spoke it was then open.

Rebecca seems to be fine, although she elected to stay home. She has her house tightly closed and does not go out at all.


Sis Buxton, so glad your Crest line home is okey. Jennifer is on her way back to see if she can get back to her home in Spring Valley. Don’t know yet if Andrew and family are making their way back. But, I think they are. Thanks so much for keeping us all up to date on events. Wish SanDiego could have had our MS. rainfall the last couple of days. Wish there was a way we could just push it on west. We don’t need it and they do. Keep holding on. Love you. BTW did Rebecca get to a safe place?


Sis. Buxton, so glad to hear the good news. You’re all in our prayers. We’ll have prayer for all our southern cal brethren and churches tonight in service that have been affected in any way by these fires. Please greet your family for us.
Bro. Garza


ANNA, thank you for your support and your prayers.

MICHELE, I’m not sure about Rimforest, but for now I believe Crestline is okay. A few minutes ago, Jerry talked to one of our evacuated neighbors who had been in contact with someone in the Stockade. The winds have shifted in our favor, and at the moment, there are blue skies over Crestline. 🙂 Yes!

I’ll try to keep track of any breaking news. Be well.


Please give us locals an update on how close or where it is in relationship to Rimforest and Crestline area. Hard to get specific info.


Sis. Buxton,

So glad to hear that the precious Buxton families are safe and their homes are saved. My, how we’ve been praying here in KS. Our church went to prayer last night for you all and all of the precious California saints and churches affected by this disaster. We love you all and will continue to pray.



Glad to hear all is well! Bro. Darin Sargent is still waiting to get back to his house. As of yesterday his house was ok, but in communicating with him this morning, they are still not letting him back to his house. He’s been in a motel since Monday. Praying for all of you who have been impacted by the fires!



Thank you for your prayers. We are so thankful that so far we have escaped these deadly flames, but I feel terribly bad for those whose homes have burned. The people of the mountain communities are closely knit, so of course we all are in grief. It’s just incredible devastation. And San Diego–it’s a horrendous nightmare.

We must keep praying. The winds are predicted to lay down this afternoon.


Your blog is the first thing I read this morning and I was relieved to know your home still stands. One of the boys in WAY Quartet lives in San Diego area and we had not been able to contact him. We finally made contact last night. He hasn’t worked the past two days because the office was closed due to the fires. These fires are just incredible. I join you in prayer for all firefighters.


Sis. Buxton, I have had you, your family, and your homes in my prayers daily. I am happy to hear that all is still standing. God has heard our prayers.

My heart goes out to those who have not escaped the fury of these flames. I pray that God will somehow come down and give them comfort in the midst of this raging storm in their lives.


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