Getting less attention, perhaps, than the wildfire burning through celebrities’ homes in Malibu is the blaze further north that has completely obliterated the community of Paradise, California and left at least 48 people dead. The fire ripped through the area so quickly that many people were found dead in their homes and cars.
According to CNN, the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history has burned 150 square miles of land and destroyed over 400 structures. And it’s still burning.
The death toll is expected to rise with at least 200 people still reported missing Tuesday afternoon, CBS News reported. In a gut-wrenching video montage compiled by CNN, a video from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office features a woman praying to God for protection as she drives down a road wreathed in flames.
"We mourn the lives of those lost, and we pray for the victims, and there are more victims than anybody would ever even think possible," President Trump said during a speech at the White House.
But amidst the devastation, a symbol of hope remained unburned.
According to Fox News, an American flag was discovered waving on a pole amidst what once was a forested neighborhood but is now a charred, ash-laden landscape with not a building still standing.
Amazed at the sight of the relatively undamaged banner, Officers Katie Cooley and Julius Lewis of the Elk Grove Police Department took photos of it to share on social media.
Calling the scene around the flag a “sobering experience,” Lewis told “Fox & Friends” that “it really is something that pictures and video can't really explain it, like being there. It was really eerie, felt like something kind of like Armageddon.”
But then the stars and stripes “definitely caught my attention; it was pretty amazing to see. The house in the backdrop was completely burnt to the ground...”
“...yet the flag was still there."
His words echoed those of Francis Scott Key, whose poem about Americans incredibly defending Fort McHenry from a massive onslaught by the British Navy would later become “The Star Spangled Banner.”
Close to 9,000 firefighters are battling the Camp Fire, as well as the Hill and Woolsey Fires near Los Angeles. The Woolsey Fire burning in Malibu has killed at least two people and prompted a mass evacuation of the area. 300,000 people so far have had to flee from the fires in California.
Please continue to pray for those affected by the fire and for the safety of our firefighters and first responders.