Pope Francis on October 11, 2020, offered prayers for those suffering from the fires around the world, especially in California.
His remarks came after praying the noonday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“I would like to express my closeness to the populations impacted by the fires that are devastating so many regions of the planet, as well as to the volunteers and firefighters who risk their lives to extinguish the blazes,” the Pope said. “I am thinking of the West Coast of the United States, particularly California, and I am also thinking of the central regions of South America, to the Panatal zone of Paraguay, to the banks of the Paraná River in Argentina.
“Many fires are caused by persistent drought, but there are also those caused by man. May the Lord sustain those who are suffering the consequences of these catastrophes and make us careful to preserve creation.”
In the western United States, California, Oregon, and Washington have seen vast wildfires burn more than 6.6 million acres and kill at least 37 people, according to Vatican News.
South America’s Pantanal region is the world’s largest tropical wetland. Vast tracts have burned in 2020, with researchers saying some 22 percent of the floodplain has been scorched, or 7.9 million acres.
Paraguay and Argentina have seen record amounts of land succumb to record-breaking blazes.