Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (ACNA) has confirmed that the Rev. Byron McKaig and his wife, Gladys, have lost their lives to the wildfire burning in the area of South Lake, California, according to the LA Times.
The blaze is the largest of the nine wildfires raging in the state. Fires across California have scorched more than 70,000 acres and drawn more than 5,000 firefighters. Of those, more than 2,000 firefighters have been assigned to the Erskine fire, named for the street near where the blaze broke out Thursday.
Officials said late Monday that the fire was 45% contained, and although it did not grow Monday, there is concern that flames may head west toward rugged mountains just below its initial path.
The two people killed in the blaze have been identified as Byron and Gladys McKaig. Byron McKaig was an Anglican priest in a Kernville congregation, according to Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, who issued a statement confirming their deaths.
Bishop Menees’ statement calls for prayers for the family’s children, and for first responders who continue to fight the fire.
I bid your prayers for the people of the Lake Isabella who are suffering so greatly under the weight of the Erskine Fire, and specifically for the people of St. Peter’s, Kernville. The members of this congregation are grieving the death of Fr. Byron and Gladys McKaig, who were overcome by smoke and flames and perished in this horrific fire. Please pray for Deacon Tom Hunt, who pastors St. Peters, as he ministers to so many in his community as they grieve the loss of property and pets, and still search for loved ones. Please pray for the McKaig children: Susan, Amy, and Lisa, as they grieve the death of their father and stepmother. No firm dates have been set, but we have a tentative date of July 23rd for a memorial service for Rev. and Mrs. McKaig, depending on how long the fire burns and the condition of access to the mountain community. Please continue to pray for the first responders as they battle both the weather conditions and this hellish fire.
According to the latest LA Times report, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Featured image: Kern County Fire Dept on Facebook