A wildfire that ravaged Southern California over the past week, forcing thousands to flee and destroying multiple structures, nevertheless left behind a powerful symbol of hope: A giant cross that has stood for years in the Azusa mountains remained unscathed and in place. The Colby fire began last Thursday after an out-of-control camp fire quickly spread, burning more than 1,800 acres of land. The span stretched from the San Gabriel Mountains to the cities of Azusa and Glendale, about 25 miles away from Los Angeles, USA Today reported.

Early news reports of the massive blaze seemed to indicate that the cross, which was placed on the mountain in 2007, was destroyed. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune said Thursday that the Azusa Police Department had tweeted that a flag, a giant “A” that was on the mountain, and the Christian symbol were among the fire’s casualties. But once the flames subsided, the 1o-to-12 foot cross could still be seen atop the mountain, according to CBN News.

Photographer Ryland Talamo captured the cross just as the smoke began to clear, later calling the image “a symbol of God’s faithfulness, watching over His people in times of need.” See picture after the cut...

Talamo said that students at Azusa Pacific University, a nearby Christian college, have a deep appreciation for the cross and its presence on the mountain.

“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,” Talamo said.

He added, “It is a symbol and a reminder that God watches over His children in every circumstance, all the time.”

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