Wildfire Update June 25, 2013: Open Shelters, Service Delivery

Black Forest Fire Red Cross volunteers and victim

Sid Webb hugged by Red Cross caseworker for the Black Forest Fire in Colorado

We are grateful for this outpouring of support, and it warms our hearts to see how many people want to give their time to help their fellow Coloradans. – Lori Geres, Director of Volunteer Services

The American Red Cross has closed the shelter at John Mall High School in Walsenburg after two consecutive nights without any overnight shelter residents, but has cached supplies at a standby location and has volunteer sheltering teams on call should the need arise to reopen shelter for evacuees of the East Peak Fire in Huerfano County.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to operate two shelters for evacuees of the West Fork Fire Complex. A total of 90 people are registered at the Red Cross shelters in these locations:

  • Del Norte High School – 1055 9th St., Del Norte (79 people are registered)
  • Gunnison Community School – 1099 N. 11th St., Gunnison (8 people stayed overnight)

    Since June 11, the Red Cross has provided shelter, food, emotional support, health services and tens of thousands of recovery supplies to thousands of people in Colorado affected by wildfires. To date, the Red Cross and partners have:

  • Opened and operated a total of ten separate shelters in Monument, Colorado Springs, Kiowa, Cañon City, Walsenburg, Rifle, Del Norte and Gunnison.
  • Distributed 28,763 Bulk items such as shovels, rakes, face masks and gloves
  • Served 32,964 meals and snacks provided by community partners such as the Salvation Army and the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado
  • Made 2,973 health and mental health contacts with affected residents
  • Registered 470 individuals in Safe and Well
  • Distributed 1,922 comfort kits containing hygiene items, toothbrushes and other basic essentials

    Two weeks after the Black Forest Fire began, the Red Cross continues to deliver recovery supplies and provide emotional and physical support to residents affected by the Black Forest Fire. Red Cross aid stations will offer water, clean-up supplies and other resources to families affected by the Black Forest fire from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. all week at two locations:

  • School in the Woods (12002 Vollmer Rd.)
  • Intersection of Black Forest Road and Shoup Road
  • Clean-up supplies include shovels, trash bags, work gloves, rakes, paper towels, and facemasks all items to help residents recover. Each station will also be staffed with disaster mental health counselors, health services and caseworkers to provide emotional and physical support.

    In addition, Red Cross mobile outreach teams are canvassing the Black Forest area to provide information and support of recovery, as well as to assist with emotional and medical needs.


    The Red Cross provides disaster relief to people completely free of charge, and is able to do so through the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of the public. You can support Red Cross disaster relief by donating online at redcross.org/Colorado, by calling 1-800-REDCROSS, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation via your cell phone bill.

    Colorado Red Cross chapters have received an outpouring of support from local residents interested in helping their neighbors through the Red Cross - more than 1,250 individuals have submitted new volunteer applications since the wildfires began.

    Due to the large volume of applications, the Red Cross is currently not accepting additional new volunteer applications in Colorado, but may open up recruitment to specific skill sets and geographic areas as unmet needs are identified.

    “We are grateful for this outpouring of support, and it warms our hearts to see how many people want to give their time to help their fellow Coloradans,” said Lori Geres, Director of Volunteer Services for the Red Cross in Colorado. “Our volunteer services team is working diligently to acknowledge and process this enormous influx of new volunteers, and we thank everyone for their patience.”