LOCAL NEWS

Oregon Town Devastated By Fires Finds Healing In Helping Others

Mar 30, 2021, 8:22 PM | Updated: 9:40 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s Task Force One was just one crew among dozens from across the country who responded to the devastating fires in Oregon last year. Those fires, including the Almeda Fire, destroyed thousands of homes and devastated towns like Medford.

The rebuilding process continues for hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In one ward or congregation in Medford, they lost 73 homes.

A special KSL-TV report that airs Saturday at noon examines stories of survival and the will to rebuild.

Those heartbreaking wildfire images from California, Washington and Oregon are difficult to forget.

For Oregon, it turned into the worst catastrophic event in the state. Thousands of homes destroyed. The aftermath of neighbors helping neighbors and communities uniting was an incredible site to see.

Apocalyptic. War Zone. Armageddon. All words used to describe several areas 15 miles south of Medford, Oregon.

“The best thing I can equate it to (is) an atomic bomb. We had entire communities and houses incinerated,” said Anthony Burton.

Cindy and Jim Guyott remember the afternoon of Sept. 8, 2020 very well. They had just minutes to get out.

“I don’t think anybody saw it coming,” said Cindy Guyott.

In a matter of hours, nearly 2,500 homes were gone – 73 of those homes belonged to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Bear Creek Ward.

Tammy Johnson, her sister, Misty, and three nieces were among the families in the ward that lost everything.

“When my dad passed away, I got to have some of his tools, so those have been rough to lose,” said Tammy Johnson.

The question many residents asked was how to rebuild after something that devastated so many lives. The answer – they are doing it the community, coming together and remaining strong for each other.

Ward and stake leaders, area authorities, missionaries and individual church members, all working together to help and to rebuild – and actually feeling blessed in the mist of ashes.

“I drove out of here with the love of my life,” said Cindy Guyott. “Everything’s going to be all right. That’s what we have faith (in). Everything is going to be alright.”

The rebuilding of homes and other structures is going to continue to take months, if not years.

Saturday at Noon, KSL-TV takes you in-depth into these incredible stories of how neighbors, leaders and the community came together in such a tragic time.

“Beauty for Ashes” airs after the first session of General Conference.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Oregon Town Devastated By Fires Finds Healing In Helping Others