PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Dixie Fire in Northern California is the largest of 100 big fires burning in 14 states.
It has destroyed more than a thousand structures in the northern Sierra Nevada. Over 6,000 firefighters alone are battling the blaze.
Helping feed those displaced is Portsmouth-based nonprofit Mercy Chefs.
They partnered with Bethel Global Response, a crisis organization connected to a church in California in this deployment.
“The smoke is unbelievable. It’s constant and pretty disruptive,” said Mercy Chefs Strategic Relationships Manager Joshua Smith.
Smith says shockingly, many who had to leave their homes are seniors who are least able to handle a tragedy like this.
“Seeing those relocated, especially those who have health issues, it’s a bit heartbreaking,” said Smith.
Smith says it’s been a challenge since they arrived as the fire continues to spread.
“The fire is growing rapidly. We’ve had to relocate our team actually because we were evacuated so yes, we are just making the best of it and doing what we can to make sure these shelters are being fed well,” said Smith.
It’s unclear how long Mercy Chefs will be serving meals. It depends on how long the shelters are open.