According to the Ventura Country Emergency Information website, this timeline is due to the fact that, “It takes 3-5 years for vegetation to re-establish itself to a point where water absorption and soil stabilization returns to the pre-burn condition.”
Is your house of worship located in or around one of these at-risk areas? If so, here are some ideas for ways to support your community in the weeks, months, and years ahead:
- Check in on people in your community who live alone. Make sure they have an evacuation plan, and a method for keeping in touch with caring neighbors and/or family.
- Create housing options. For example, churches in areas outside but nearby to burn areas might pair up with churches in higher risk areas to provide nearby guest rooms when there is rain.
- Encourage members to keep informed and ready. Help members and neighbors sign up for alerts for their area: Santa Barbara County Alerts, Ventura County Alerts, Sonoma County Alerts, and/or LA County Alerts. Remind them to keep an emergency bag packed in case of an evacuation.
- Help members and neighbors with decision-making. As people are feeling fatigued, or overwhelmed, it can be very challenging to make decisions. Churches can help members and neighbors plan ahead.
- Disaster Preparedness for Houses of Worship
- Tools for Tracking Natural Disasters & Worship After Natural Disaster
- ICTG's online training page
In addition to the tips and resources listed above, the "3 C's": Calming, Communication, and Community will be important to keep in mind. These practices are essential to countering stress and the impacts of trauma You can learn more about why these practices are so important and how to incorporate them more into your congregation or ministry with the ICTG Resource Guides for General Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Spiritual Direction.