As firefighters plowed forward in a 10-day battle against raging flames known as the Gap Fire in the wooded mountains around S. Barbara and Goleta, Calif., a Jewish center just one block from the evacuation line continued to offer support to displaced and anxious residents.

Elie Fouere, a one-time volunteer New England fire-fighter who now calls California home, reported that Chabad-Lubavitch of S. Barbara was the “safest place to be” when the fire posed an immediate threat to area homes.

In addition, he noted, a fire relief effort identified citizens in need of assistance and provided a central location for people far away from the smoke to contribute money.

Rabbi Zalman Kudan, the Goleta-based youth director at the Chabad House, said that the relief effort – which in addition to providing funds for displaced residents, sent a generator to power the life-support equipment of an elderly Jewish woman whose home was without electricity – has not ended, given the uncertainty of the fire. He urged concerned people everywhere to make a contribution by visiting the effort’s Web site.

Chabad translates love of one’s fellow into action,” said Kudan. “It’s been wonderful to see the response of the community and the willingness of people who have offered support and housing.”

Kudan, who works with Chabad House co-directors Rabbi Yosef and Devorah Loschak, as well as with Rabbi Mendel and Rochel Loschak at Chabad at the University of California at S. Barbara, said that last week, flames could be seen from the center’s 3.5-acre campus.

“Smoke was thick,” he said. “Ash still covers the entire campus.”

Since June 20, more than 1,700 wildfires have charred millions of acres of California wilderness, forcing the evacuation of thousands of homes. In Goleta, more than 1,000 firefighters, backed by aerial drops of fire retardant and water, are battling the blaze. Officials said on Thursday that the fire, which had burned 9,443 acres, was 70 percent contained.

For his part, Fouere expressed gratitude to the Chabad House.

“Just as in every other phase in Jewish life, Chabad is there to get the job done,” said Fouere, who hosted four evacuees in his home. “They are there for parents, for kids, and for the sick.”