It's been three weeks since the Camp fire burned down Paradise. A local pastor would like to help put the California community back together – if he can keep himself from falling apart first.
The adrenaline rush of fleeing the voracious flames has subsided; the relief of knowing his entire family survived is settling in; and the anger at the senselessness of it all has been tucked away in a little box in his brain to be unpacked when the work is done. What Pastor Tim Bolin is feeling now is gray – and overwhelmed.
"The nightmare is real – we're not waking up from this," the pastor of Paradise Alliance Church tells OneNewsNow. "Our town is gone. Maybe five percent, maybe eight percent is left. What do we do?"
The government showed up earlier this week. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-California) toured the devastation and promised help. LaMalfa represents the district where Paradise is located.
"It's time to take decisive action to help save wildlife, property, and human lives," said LaMalfa. "I will work with Congress, the president, and Secretaries Zinke and Perdue to make that a reality."
Bolin says they are delivering. "The insurance companies, actually, have been great. FEMA is on the scene. Like FEMA said, they'd never seen total destruction like this in a fire situation. So they're here. I've got to praise our government for that," the pastor shares.
But he says it's still too soon to see the effects of it all at this point. They're only three weeks unto this "new normal," and they're still removing burned power lines from the embers.
"It's going to take helping our infrastructure [and] helping business come back without a lot of red tape and lower taxes," he states. "To me, we've got to get business established, we've got to get young families, we've got to get our schools back up and running."
But he says what they need mostly right now is prayer. "We need prayer for people ... that they don't lose hope. The natural progression is anger and [we need prayer] that they don't get angry," Bolin says. It's a prayer he would appreciate on his behalf as well.
Listen to more of the pastor's interview with OneNewsNow here.