Creator of trees, fire, wind, and warmth, You have given us the capacity to feel deep compassion for places and beings affected by wildfires. In 2012, Colorado suffered from a record-breaking wildfire season with more than 4000 fires. While we were visiting Mary Ann's sister, she drove us through the desolation wrought in the area by the Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs. It looked like a savaged and desolate war zone with blackened trees and ground. Between 80 and 100 homes were destroyed. We saw burnt out cars and areas where the sandy soil was spreading onto roads, with all the grasses and bushes that had held it in place before now burned out. We will never forget that experience.

News: Fast-forward to 2021. The year ended with two devastating wildfires again in Colorado, this time in the Boulder area. As many as 1,000 homes were destroyed. This followed several years of fires in California and Oregon that destroyed whole towns. An average of 1.2 million acres of U.S. woodland burn every year.

Climate change makes wildfires worse. As early as 2011, the National Climate Assessment Report noted that: "There is strong evidence to indicate that human influence on the climate has already doubled the probability of extreme heat events like the record-breaking summer of 2011 in Texas and Oklahoma." Fires are caused by extreme heat and are much more likely to happen when dry air, low humidity, and high winds combine. This possibility increases as the planet warms.

And so we pray this news . . .

O Holy Transformer, we pray that you will encourage those who are refusing to see or do anything about this catastrophe to change their ways. Help us to realize the life-sustaining connections between forests and our lives on Earth so that we look for ways to protect them from destructive wildfires. We give thanks for scientists and researchers who are doing all they can to come up with programs to deal more effectively with climate change and wildfires. We are grateful for the diligence and often unheralded heroism of forest firefighters. And last but not least, we pray that you will give patience and resilience to families who have lost their homes and trees who have lost their beloved companions.

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