Colorado ablaze: How to help

Fast-moving wildfires lit up central Colorado, forcing thousands from their homes and scorching some 12,000 acres of brush and timber.
Of the five fires burning, the most problematic was the Black Forest Fire.

Story highlights

  • Tens of thousands of people are displaced due to raging wildfires in two areas of Colorado
  • Hundreds of homes have been destroyed
  • While the firefighters are battling the blaze, organizations are on the ground to help evacuees
Firefighters have finally begun to contain the 16,000-acre Black Forest Fire in Colorado. While the fires are not 100% contained, officials feel they are finally gaining ground. But not without significant damage. Nearly 500 homes are destroyed and most have not been allowed back to asses the loss. CNN is reporting this is the most destructive fire in Colorado's history. It is clear that the people of Colorado will need help and that the need will grow until the fire is contained.
However, as conditions are unsafe, it is not recommended to go to the affected areas or offer volunteer help. At this time, the best way to help is through donations. State government officials say that the arrival of volunteers at this time would impede the response efforts but that volunteers will be needed during the recovery phase. They ask for those wishing to volunteer be patient and be trained by reputable relief agencies. For more guidance from state officials, check the Help Colorado Now website.
But as the situation continues to develop there are organizations already established on the ground and helping those in need. You can help their efforts by making a donation to any one of the following groups.
American Red Cross
Hundreds of families and individuals have turned to the Red Cross for shelter from the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs and the Royal Gorge Fire near Cañon City. They are working with other local organizations to provide food as well. Red Cross employees are meeting with affected residents, assessing their needs, and providing comfort kits and stuffed animals to children. Experts are also standing by to provide preparedness and evacuation information for residents who have not yet had to leave their homes.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army of Pike's Peak is on the scene providing food and refreshments to evacuees and first responders. While most organizations prefer you make financial donations, The Salvation Army has also placed a call on its Facebook page asking that donations of sports drinks to help the firefighters combating the fire be sent to:
908 Yuma Street Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
Long-term help
After last year's devastating fires, two long-term funds were established. The Long-Term Recovery Group of Northern Colorado Fund comprises more than 50 nonprofit agencies, government organizations, faith-based groups and concerned citizens. This fund was established to provide long-term care for those affected by the 2012 wildfires and subsequent flooding in Larimer County. The United Way of Larimer County is overseeing this fund.
The second is the Pikes Peak Region Long-Term Recovery Group. It aims to provide recovery services to individuals and families affected by the Waldo Canyon Fire in the Pikes Peak Region. This fund provides long-term aid and resources in the following categories: case management and unmet needs, emotional and spiritual care, housing, material donation coordination and construction and clean-up.