The other side of the coin of disaster? The love of community. In Big Pine, just go to the Methodist Church and you will see it and feel it. Big hearted residents have transformed the church into a donation center which is now teeming with clothes, shoes, furniture, and household goods.
Reverend Karen Moore of the Methodist Church who said, “The generosity of the people of the Owens Valley, as far away as Ridgecrest. I’ve had people call from San Diego, Bull Head City – people wanting to contribute money and items. Don’s Snowmobile in Mammoth is sending gift cards. Everyone is coming to the aid of the people in Big Pine. The wonderful survivors have been here taking things and every one of them expressed their extreme gratitude to everyone in the Valley who is being so generous.”
Now, Moore said, the need is household goods to fill new homes when they are found. Donations can be brought to the Methodist Church. Reverend Moore said Fendon’s Furniture volunteered to bring down used and other furniture. IMAH gave $100 gift certificates to their thrift store for each victim. McDonald’s gave gift certificates. “It just goes on and on,” said Revernd Moore, with individuals and groups giving.”
Just a block or two west and the dismal sight of the fire destruction appears. The smell of smoke and the blackened debris create a lifeless landscape. You can see the blackened path of the ferocious fire and wind that starts up in the mountains.
As we reported earlier, Inyo Superintendent of Schools Terry McAteer confirmed that a men’s group on retreat at the Bernasconi Center Complex had started a warming fire behind the center and thought it was out when they left. Brutal afternoon winds apparently restarted the fire that tore down the ravines toward Big Pine like a vicious torch. The fire scorched gullies led right to the homes at the west edge of town.
Relief activities for victims continue. Go to the Big Pine school website for the fire relief link to learn all about ways to help or be helped. That’s www.bp.k12.ca.us.
A lately added service – Bishop and Mammoth Waste Disposal will accept cash or gift cards at both their locations and will match contributions made at these two locations. They will also offer a drop off location for non-perishable food and household items. They will also provide trash bins and portable toilets as will Preferred Septic of Bishop.
The Inyo Sheriff’s Department has also announced officers will enforce security in the affected fire areas of Big Pine. Only residents and citizens that have lawful property rights will be allowed in the burn-zones. Anyone asked to leave who refuses will be subject to arrest. Sheriff Bill Lutze asks that people keep in mind they may have to produce information that validates property ownership.