Wildfire season has begun. In Colorado, the Black Forest Fire has destroyed over 360 homes, forced evacuations for at least 38,000 people, and taken two lives. At just 5-percent contained, this fire may be raging for some time. Given the dry conditions in the mountains and western US, more fires will surely follow.
How can you help Colorado wildfire victims?
Support the Red Cross’ Disaster Relief Fund. Over 800 people in Colorado stayed at Red Cross shelters last night, and more will be sure to need support tonight.
The Pikes Peak Community Foundation has set up an Emergency Relief Fund for the Black Forest Fire, one that will support agencies and organizations in the short and long-term. You can donate to the fund here.
Visit HelpColoradoNow.org, a website with useful tips about what to do, and what not to do, to support people after disasters. If you have a house to stay that you’d like to share with others, or have a restaurant and want to donate meals, this site can connect you. The website also lists material donations that are needed, and where to bring them — though none are needed at this time.
Also, here are a few thoughts from my firefighter husband on wildfires:
- Please don’t try to make a Costco run and deliver stuff (water bottles, homemade cookies) to the front lines. I know, it sounds crazy that people who don’t have a firetruck would drive toward flames, but it happens. If it’s an evacuation area, stay out, and resist the urge to drive by and check out the scene.
- If you’re ever in an evacuation area, leave. Quickly. If you hang around post evacuation, it means you are putting yourself in danger — and first responders could be put in even more danger when trying to rescue you.
- If you live in a small town or a rural community, consider joining your local volunteer fire department. Depending on where you may not respond to wildfires, but most of these volunteer departments need more folks who want to put in the time and energy to help their neighbors.