Some of the wildfires in Colorado are now fully contained, while others are posing a challenge to firefighters and the American Red Cross is helping people affected by the blazes.
People have been allowed to return to their communities where fires are now under control and the Red Cross is providing emotional support as well as food, health services and clean-up supplies. However residents in some counties are still under evacuation orders or have been told to prepare to leave their homes. The Red Cross has shelters open to provide evacuees with a safe place to stay.
The West Fork Fire has destroyed 76,000 acres and firefighters are struggling to gain control of the blaze. The fire has forced the town of South Fork and a nearby recreational vehicle park to evacuate and people in other neighborhoods have been told to prepare to evacuate. The East Peak Fire has charred almost 13,000 acres, putting hundreds of homes at risk.
HOME DESTROYED The Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs is now fully contained, but not before destroying more than 525 homes. One of those who lost their home is Sid Webb, whose first instinct when he got word of the fire was to go home. By the time he got there, the area was blocked off.
“The fire hit so fast," Webb said. "People were leaving in front of a wall of flames.”
That night he watched television news coverage of the fire and saw his home burning. There was no doubt about it. The forty-year old wooden structure was kindling for the fire. “The good news is that we had closure immediately,” he said.
Webb and his wife were renting the house, looking for a new start after downsizing and leaving Atlanta. The Black Forest fire burned everything that they'd kept from their previous life. “You have no clue how fast a fire moves," Webb said. "If you think you’re going to personally fight fire you’re not, you’re going to die.”
Red Cross disaster relief worker Jody LiVecchi walked the home's charred remains with the couple. Webb welcomed a hug from the Red Crosser, saying that he needed nothing else. "I'd rather Red Cross help go to others who need it more,” he said.
RED CROSS RESPONSE The Red Cross has provided shelter, food, emotional support, health services and distributed tens of thousands of recovery supplies to people in Colorado affected by wildfires. To date, the Red Cross has:
FIRE WARNINGS CONTINUE Weather conditions are still favorable for wildfires in several western states. People should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice if ordered to do so. If someone has to evacuate, they should bring the following supplies:
People can also download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, which gives information about what to do before, during and after a wildfire, even without connectivity, and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
HOW TO HELP You can help people affected by disasters like wildfires, tornadoes, floods and other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.