Chaplains Respond During Historic Wildfire in Texas Panhandle

By   •   February 29, 2024

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Chaplains ministered to devastated communities in Texas—where a fast-moving wildfire quickly grew into the largest blaze in state history.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire—now the largest in Texas’s history—wreaked havoc in the Panhandle.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) ministered in Hutchinson County, Texas, as communities mourned the deaths of at least two people killed in the fire.

Cindy Owen, 44, from Amarillo, Texas, died from burns caused by the flames, and 83-year-old Joyce Blankenship was killed as her home burned to the ground.

“The house was gone,” Blankenship’s grandson, Nathan Blankenship, told a news outlet. “There was no way she could’ve gotten out.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties. More than one million acres of land in Texas and Oklahoma were burned since the fire began on February 26.

“The devastation from these wildfires we are seeing in the Texas Panhandle is heartbreaking,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to listen, comfort and pray with residents who are hurting.”

As they offered emotional and spiritual care to the hurting in Hutchinson County, Texas, chaplains were able to share that Jesus Christ brings hope from the ashes.

Chaplains offered the hurting emotional and spiritual care in Jesus’ Name.

A Mobile Ministry Center (MMC) was also sent to provide a safe space for conversations and prayer.

Please pray for the communities affected by this tragic fire.