Gene Blevins of the Los Angeles Daily News took some absolutely amazing photos showing the fire raging through the canyon. As the photos are copyrighted, I cannot place them here. But I have provided the web sites where they are available for viewing. They are available for viewing or purchase at: tp://dailynews.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=825511&CategoryID=42832&ListSubAlbums=
Notice that among the photos are several of a huge white cross. Amazingly, it appeared to have survived the flames virtually intact, even though almost everything around it was utterly consumed by the fierceness of the raging flames: http://dailynews.mycapture.com/mycapture/enlarge.asp?image=25333374&event=825897&CategoryID=42832.
Apparently, a similar thing occurred during the Freeway Complex fire in Yorba Linda/Anaheim Hills in 2002, as a cross made from old wooden telephone poles on a hill overlooking the CA-91 freeway was left standing, although its lighting system was destroyed. That story can be found here: http://www.ocregister.com/news/cross-91832-cluff-canyon.html.
As I beheld these pictures, I was reminded of a story I had read a number of years ago. It is found in H. A. Ironside’s book titled Illustrations of Bible Truth (Chicago: Moody Press, 1945, pp. 34-35):
Pioneers were making their way across one of the central states to a distant place that had been opened up for homesteading. They traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, and progress was necessarily slow. One day they were horrified to note a long line of smoke in the west, stretching for miles across the prairie, and soon it was evident that the dried grass was burning fiercely and coming toward them rapidly.
They had crossed a river the day before but it would be impossible to go back to that before the flames would be upon them. One man only seemed to have understanding as to what could be done. He gave the command to set fire to the grass behind them. Then when a space was burned over, the whole company moved back upon it.
As the flames roared on toward them from the west, a little girl cried out in terror, "Are you sure we shall not all be burned up?" The leader replied, "My child, the flames cannot reach us here, for we are standing where the fire has been!" What a picture of the believer, who is safe in Christ! The fires of God’s judgment burned themselves out on Him, and all who are in Christ are safe forever, for they are now standing where the fire has been.
Note: M. R. De Haan once wrote a similar devotion titled “The Burned Over Place” that was published in Our Daily Bread back in 1997. It included this poem, the author of whom is identified only as a certain Mr. “Bosch”.
The flames of God's judgment can never touch me,
For Jesus has borne all God's wrath on the tree;
I now stand secure in the burned-over place,
A sinner, unworthy, yet saved by His grace!*