It’s hot, it’s dry and we’ve got fires everywhere. Two new ones started in the southwestern part of the state yesterday, and as of today, the Waldo Canyon, High Park and Flagstaff fires are burning a combined 80,000 acres. If you need an impression of how bad things are, people who were just evacuated from Colorado Springs are now being evacuated from Monument, which is about 12 miles north.
All of the local papers, like the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette and the Fort Collins Coloradoan provide excellent updates, plus check out this amazing interactive Google map:
The Waldo Canyon Fire is making the most news as it’s actually in the city limits of Colorado Springs. You always think of wildfires in some remote area where entire neighborhoods aren’t laid to waste. These pictures changes that:
A tanker drops fire retardant while fighting the Flagstaff wildfire on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 in Boulder Colorado. (AP Photo/Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera)
Structures can be seen burning as the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs rages out of control, Tuesday June, 26, 2012. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
An aerial photograph taken Wednesday of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs shows the destructive path of the fire. (John Wark, johnwark.com)
What can you do? Rest assured, helping is easy. Send money. The Red Cross Colorado Chapter is pretty solid for getting money to where it needs to go. If you’re wondering where police and firefighters would like you to send money, well here’s what we got directly from those on the front lines:
“Hey dude, I asked the guys and they said for this event the American Red Cross provided all the food to the crews. So any donation (monetary would be best) is greatly appreciated both in the Springs and all over the country.” -Cindy
Cindy is cooking food for the firefighters, one of whom is her husband, a guy she says she seen just a few hours this week.
If you want to send money and get something cool in return, then check out Wildfire Tees.
Can you think of a better design?
These shirts are all designed by Colorado Springs designers, and they’d love your help for more designs. As they say on their site, “We are designers who live in Colorado, love our home, and hate watching it burn. 100% of our proceeds will go to the Colorado wildfire relief efforts across the state. If you’re a designer and want to join our efforts, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.” So if you don’t have money to send, use your big brain to conjure an awesome t-shirt design to help out some folks who just had everything burn to the ground.
Here are some other sites that offer information and quick ways to help:
And something for wildfire preparedness:
Around town there are cool little fundraising ideas popping up everywhere. Name employee Jessica and her daughter Izzy are making cakes and selling them at just 4 bucks a pop. And the last we heard their baked goods are so popular they’ve added cookies to the menu.
With so much dry and dead vegetation (a massive beetle kill has ravaged much of the state leaving millions of lodgepole pine dead and vulnerable to fire), we have no idea when a lightning bolt or a smoking dolt will start another fire. But we do know we have thousands of firefighters, police, National Guard and military members either already fighting or at the ready. The work will never be done, but at least we can always let them and the victims of the fires know we’re here to support them. And if you’re looking for a nice fall trip to the most beautiful state in the land, then come on out in September for a firefighter appreciation with our governor (you won’t be surprised to find that he’s a beer brewer) presiding over the Fight Fire with Beer Festival. I’m sure they could use one. Or ten.