At 2:47pm on Saturday July 25th, 2015 Camp Alta was informed that a nearby fire had started. This was ten minutes after Yuba Net had made their first post to their extremely resourceful website documenting the start of the Lowell Fire in Nevada County. As our staff began to research and obtain all of the information we could to pass along to our guests they were already in awe of what was beginning to make itself known in the sky. A large smoke plume building from an approaching crown fire started to crawl through the trees and high into the sky. The concern of what was in the air rightfully had an effect on all of us.
Over the next couple hours as we worked with our guests from Williams Memorial Church and Woodcreek High School to find solutions, our phone began to ring, news reports started to surface, and powerful image after powerful image began to reveal the awe of this growing fire. During this time we began to pray, we invited you all our partners in ministry to pray, and we began to make it publicly known that the whole area (some facing potential evacuation) was in need of prayer. By 5:50pm, a little over three hours later the fire had grown from 100 acres to 3,000 acres (One thousand acres an hour). The concern was growing. Airplanes began to fly overhead. The smoke eclipsed the sun turning the sky pink. And our faith in God deepened. It was strange, yet right!
As our guests successfully managed to depart camp in an impressive and organized fashion the smoke settled. Camp Alta’s staff, board, and surrounding community were able to gather information from local CalFire, CHP officers, and volunteer firefighters that were on the ground in Dutch Flat. We stationed ourselves out off a nearby lookout (roughly 5 miles from the camp) to gain a better perspective (See image below). Believe it or not, we were encouraged by what we saw. The work that the fire crews had done to initially move the Lowell Fire northward and away from Gold Run, Dutch Flat and Alta was profound.
“The fire is located in the Lowell Hill area which is West of Alta. The fire is predominately in Nevada County (not Placer county where Camp Alta is located). The fire is currently estimated at 4000 acres and is burning in a northerly direction (which is away from Camp Alta). A good news source is Yuba Net http://yubanet.com/
By no means does this mean the fire is all done burning. In fact we anticipate that it will keep burning for a number of days to come. We just happen to be out of a primary area of concern at this time. This may change, but we trust that Camp Alta, just as it has been for the last 60 years of ministry, is “SAFE.” Part of the reason we trust this is because of the overwhelming prayerful response that flooded us on Saturday evening. It was unique. The presence of God made himself known in multiple ways.
We believe that God will continue to protect our 20 acres as well as our surrounding community. We are planning to proceed as normal by welcoming in guests for camp on Sunday. Please continue to pray that the wind and heat stay at a minimum. Please pray for the 500+ personnel that are servicing the fire. Please check back here as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages for ongoing updates. Thank you. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)