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God answered our prayers, spared Fallbrook


Last updated 11/15/2007 at Noon

At the community meeting held Sunday, October 28, at Fallbrook High School football stadium, North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD) Chief Bill Metcalf said that the Village of Fallbrook was spared by a miracle.

As a volunteer Red Cross chaplain responsible for coverage of North San Diego County, I reported to the NCFPD Operations Room on Tuesday, October 23, at 5:30 a.m.

Among the many issues addressed at the early morning briefing were two that were paramount to the safety of Fallbrook. The first was the low number of fire strike teams in the area at that particular hour and the other was the continuing influence of the Santa Ana winds.

Weather agencies were forecasting that the winds were going to continue until 3 p.m. the next day, October 24. Given those two conditions alone, although never spoken, the matter of the survival of Fallbrook was, at the very least, questionable.

I then did something I believed needed to be done. I went to my home church, Zion Lutheran, which was devoid of all persons because of the evacuation the day before, and knelt on the communion rail cushion before the altar.

I had every reason to believe that there were hundreds – if not thousands – of Fallbrook residents spread throughout Southern California, along with firefighters and those in the sheriff’s department, who, in their own way and in their own words, were forming a prayer to God similar to mine.

Essentially, I acknowledged God to be the one who created the forces of nature, including the wind, and asked Him to use His Almighty Power to alter the Santa Ana winds that were driving the fire deeper westward into the Greater Fallbrook Area.

Despite the continuing forecasts of the winds by responsible weather agencies, by 9 o’clock that morning, the winds in Fallbrook had significantly subsided. This was the miracle to which Chief Metcalf referred to.

In a private conversation at the conclusion of the Sunday presentation, California Senator Dennis Hollingsworth corroborated this miraculous intervention by God. He told me that at about the same hour on Tuesday morning, he was driving from Temecula to Escondido. Although the Santa Ana winds were equally strong in both of these locations, when he stopped his car along I-15 to view the Fallbrook area hit by fire, the winds were barely blowing.

The virtual cessation of these fire-breathing winds at this particular hour provided the courageous, valiant and more-than-concerned firefighters and sheriff’s deputies just the right margin of time and space to hold the fire in place until reinforcements could arrive later in the day.

God in His mercy had spared Fallbrook. I believe it to be most appropriate that the beneficiaries of such blessings keep this in mind.


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