As Wildfires Engulf Parts of East Tennessee, Fire Chief Bizarrely Asks Everyone to Pray

As I write this, wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee are forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes (and hotels) and get to safety. The strong winds hitting East Tennessee aren’t helping the situation, as fallen trees and power lines could exacerbate the situation.

GatlinburgWildfires

It all makes you wonder what the hell the local fire chief was thinking with this statement last night:

“If you’re a person of prayer, we could use your prayers,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said Monday evening as crews battled wind gusts of up to 70 mph.

Really? That’s what you need right now? Not equipment? Not more volunteers? Not drivers to take more passengers out of the city or people to open their doors to evacuees, but prayer? When Smokey Bear said “Only you can prevent forest fires,” this isn’t what he meant.

While Miller may have had more to say, that’s the only comment that made it in a local news station’s article about the situation.

If you actually want to help, though, here are some more useful suggestions:

  • Send $10 to the Red Cross by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.
  • Sign up to be a Red Cross volunteer right here.
  • Check out this list of places accepting non-monetary donations if you live in the area.

All of those things would go further than asking a favor of the same God that believers would also say started this fire.

(Thanks to Jay for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.