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Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains in California as Hundreds of Homes Burn in Butte and Valley Fires

Contact: Erik Ogren, 704-401-2117, eogren@bgea.org 

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 17, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Crisis-trained chaplains with the  Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are in California to minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of those who have been affected by the widespread  Butte and  Valley Fires. 

The two wildfires have collectively burned more than 140,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes.  News reports indicate that there are three confirmed fatalities, with several more people missing. Neither fire is contained, with thousands of homes and other structures still threatened.

"These fires are fierce and their destructive strength is overwhelming," said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. "There are so many that need our prayers at a time such as this. Please join us in praying for the firefighters who are placing their lives on the line, for the authorities overseeing the entire situation, and especially for those who have lost loved ones and homes in this tragedy."

Efforts will begin in earnest over the coming days as additional chaplains arrive and homeowners are allowed to return to what is left of their homes to begin the difficult process of recovery.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has responded in coordination with Samaritan's Purse, the Christian disaster relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, who is also president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. 

The response to the Butte and Valley Fires will be the first wildfire deployments for the chaplaincy ministry this year. This is the fourth year that the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has traveled to California for fire-related disasters, following efforts near San Diego in 2003; Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Madera and Fallbrook in 2007; and Yorba Linda in 2008.

For more information on the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, including videos, photos, news articles and an interactive map of former and current deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. Updates can also be found at www.facebook.com/RRTChaplains.

About the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team:
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 48 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 195 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.