Wildfires ripped through Southern California on Shabbos, although Sunday the winds calmed and slowed flames that have destroyed almost 1,000 houses and forced more than 20,000 to evacuate.
“This has been a very tough few days for the people of Southern California. We had the perfect storm — high winds, high temperatures and it is very, very dry,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a news conference.
At least 30 homes in Yorba Linda, where Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie is co-director of the North County Chabad-Lubavitch Center, have been damaged or destroyed in a fire that began in Corona and burned several homes there. In an interview with Chabad.org, Eliezrie said that the worst of the flames struck his Orange County area during Shabbat services on Saturday. Several community members’ homes were destroyed.
“There’s still a serious fire here,” stated Eliezrie as picked up a list of members’ contact numbers before heading out to the worst-hit neighborhoods. “Last night, we went to deliver water to the police and fire crews. Today, we’re going to meet with families.”