Wildfires in Southern California near Azusa Pacific University have claimed at least 1,700 acres and destroyed at least six homes.
But amid the flames, one iconic structure is still standing.
A 10- to 12-foot cross on top of a mountain peak in the Azusa mountains is visible for miles. The cross was originally erected in 2007, and many local residents often hike up to the lookout spot where it stands overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.
This week, flames ripped through the area and the cross appeared to be lost, according to early local reports. But the wood structure, which has become a fixture on Azusa Peak, survived unscathed.
“Everything in the mountains is burnt and gone, including the “A” for Azusa. After houses were burnt down, hundreds evacuated and the city covered in smoke, there was one thing left, not only standing, but untouched. God is good, God is powerful and God is worthy of all praise,” one local person posted on Facebook.
The photo pictured, taken by freelance photographer Ryland Talamo, was taken about 1 p.m. PST Thursday, after the fire’s flames, which had engulfed the area, had died down.
“It’s almost shining through the smoke because the sun reflects off the white paint, thus increasing visibility even with all the smoke and ash in the air,” Talamo said.
“For students at APU, it is common for groups of us to hike the Garcia Trail to the top of the mountain and sit at the foot of the cross. It reminds us that, though we are a part of a specific university, we are also a part of a larger community, not only limited to Azusa, but the rest of the world as well,” he said. “It is a symbol and a reminder that God watches over His children in every circumstance, all the time.”