ARNOLD, CA (September 11, 2015) – Evacuation orders have been issued to residents in areas of Calaveras County where four Covenant congregations are located as the Butte Fire, which started Wednesday, has suddenly exploded to cover 65,000 acres and now threatens 6,000 homes.
Attendees of Chapel in the Pines Covenant Church in Arnold, West Point Covenant Church in West Point, and Murphys Covenant Church in Murphys, are among those under mandatory evacuation orders. San Andreas, where Community Covenant Church, is located was issued a mandatory order, but that was later lifted.
“The air is really thick with smoke, and ash is coming down,” Chad Wible said Friday night as he was leaving town. His wife and children already had left to stay with family in Sacramento.
Church leadership had called all of the members to make sure they knew about the order, Wible said.
“Everybody that I spoke with in town today was planning on leaving,” he said.
The fire started Wednesday night and picked up speed late Thursday night. According to officials, 2,400 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is being fueled by dry brush and is only five percent contained. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency on Friday afternoon.