(Top) VMs salvage precious china and other valuables in “Ash-Outs” for those who lost their homes to the Carr Fire in California, (left) provide dust masks to residents and (right) accept a letter of thanks from the Salvation Army.

The Carr Fire in Northern California scorched everything in its path. VMs were there to help evacuees and firefighters.

The Carr Fire in California burned 229,651 acres and 1,604 structures, mostly houses. Accidentally set off by a flat tire’s rim scraping asphalt near dry brush in Shasta County near the state’s northern border, the fire eventually jumped the Sacramento River into Redding, the county seat. The 4,766 fire personnel fighting it and the 38,000 evacuated needed relief.

Within days of the first spark, Volunteer Ministers were on their way from across California and the US. The first stop was the Shasta County Evacuation Center, where they immediately assisted evacuees with food and water while delivering spiritual first aid in the form of Scientology assists, especially for those who had lost their homes.

The VMs brought donations of supplies including water, toothpaste, paper plates and even pet supplies and other basics to help those in the shelters. They also gave out dust masks to distressed residents at the local supermarket as the air quality worsened.

All the while, the fire raged on and firefighters were stretched thin and exhausted. The VMs set up their yellow tent at the Anderson Fairground, which operated as the Firefighter Operations Center. There they provided assists to firefighters as well as water, Gatorade and at times ice cream and Frappuccinos to cool them off from the fire, which had grown so hot and so big it created its own weather system, including a “firenado,” meaning a rotating column of fire.

A firefighter who regularly sees a chiropractor for chronic neck pain, after his assist, said, “Wait a minute, what did you do? The pain is gone!” He was given the Assists for Illnesses and Injuries booklet providing the exact technology on how the assist worked so he could learn it himself and show others.

Besides helping at another main shelter, the Salvation Army Corps Community Center, VMs not only helped evacuees but also used their organizational skills to coordinate the overall activity. The Salvation Army’s deputy director of emergency services presented a letter of recognition to the VMs for their work.

The Volunteer Ministers became a stable and welcome sight at a shelter in the Bethel Christian Megachurch, where they helped supply food, water, hygiene kits—anything anyone needed. They were soon invited to the church’s Sunday Service, where the pastor acknowledged their help from the pulpit.

“The heart of their work was shown in the care they had for folks that were directly impacted and for the agency staff that needed assistance.”

At the Bethel Church, the VMs organized to conduct “Ash-Outs,” where they went with families to their charred houses and helped them find lost memorable items that could be salvaged. At one home, the owner had many valuables and antiques lost, but to his pleasant surprise, the VMs were able to recover some of his porcelain china completely intact. A nearby neighbor said it was the first time they had seen him smile in the two weeks since evacuating.

In total, the VMs helped more than 16,500 people, delivered over 850,000 items to evacuees, gave out over 10,500 dust masks to locals and donated more than 3,000 hours of volunteer work. In the words of the Salvation Army, “We are very thankful for their help throughout this entire disaster. The heart of their work was shown in the care they had for folks that were directly impacted and for the agency staff that needed assistance.”


Volunteer Ministers are on call across the globe and around the clock to respond to any and every disaster. Your contribution will fund volunteer travel as well as food, water, tents and medical supplies for disaster victims.