Published: June 14, 2013
Critical information for evacuees
- To register yourself as safe and well, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell.
- Evacuees seeking a place to stay can head to a Red Cross shelter:
- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Rec Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
- Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Frontage Road, Monument, 867-8600 (accepting pets of evacuees who are staying there)
- Elbert County Fairgrounds, 95 Ute Ave., Kiowa, (303) 621-3152
- Department of Defense ID card holders -- including troops, retirees and DOD civilians -- and their family members displaced by the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires can find shelter at Fort Carson's Youth Center, 5950 Ware St., 526-2680. The center can house up to 100 people. Those in need of shelter will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The center also will accept pets of those who are staying there, though owners must supply kennels, food and dishes for them. Shuttles will transport evacuees to food courts and a place to shower on post.
- Peterson Air Force Base is also offering shelter to all DOD ID card holders who've been evacuated due to the fires. The shelter is located at the base's fitness and sports center, Building 560, and is open 24 hours a day. Evacuees should first check in with the Peterson Personnel Support for Contingency Operations Team at the lodging office, Building 1042. The shelter can accommodate up to 100 people on a first-come, first-served basis. The shelter cannot accept pets, however, it has a list of base personnel who will provide temporary shelter for them. Cots, linens and showers will be provided. Personal weapons are not permitted.
- Hope & Home, a state licensed foster-care agency, 661-6722, has foster families willing to take in foster families from other agencies who were evacuated due to the fire.
- Evacuees seeking information on the status of their homes can visit www.bit.ly/14wdoOR to view a preliminary home assessment document from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
- The county's Disaster Assistance Center is located at the El Paso County Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, 444-8300. It's open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The center brings together representatives of major insurance companies, El Paso County Public Health, health care providers, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, utilities providers, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Office of Emergency Management, grief counselors and local nonprofits offering services to residents impacted by the Black Forest fire. For more information on the center, visit www.bit.ly/OZGako.
- The Salvation Army has a booth at the county's Disaster Assistance Center. Anyone affected by the fire who needs assistance with utilities, food, gas, housing or the like should stop by the booth, said Salvation Army spokeswoman Mary Whatcott.
- Pikes Peak YMCA locations are welcoming Black Forest fire evacuees, first responders and Colorado Springs residents with no air conditioning to their facilities to "cool down, refresh and shower at no charge" on a space-available basis. Those wishing to use YMCA facilities should bring identification with them and show it at the door.
The facilities offering the service:
- Tri-Lakes, 17250 Jackson Creek Parkway
- Briargate, 4025 Family Place
- Garden Ranch, 2380 Montebello Drive W.
- Downtown, 207 N. Nevada Ave.
- Southeast, 2190 Jet Wing Drive
- Fountain Valley, 301 E. Iowa Ave.
- Cottonwood Creek Recreational Center, 3920 Dublin Blvd.
- Memorial Park Recreational Center, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
For additional information, visit www.ppymca.org.
- Mercy's Gate, formerly known as Northern Churches Care, is offering evacuees assistance with housing, gas, food and counseling. For assistance, visit 4285 North Academy Blvd., 4-7 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m.-noon Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1-4 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m.-noon Fridays. For information, call 277-7470. For updates on the assistance offered by Mercy's Gate, visit www.facebook.com/mercysgate.
Useful information for evacuees
- A community meeting will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Road, Monument. The meeting, hosted by District 1 El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and District 5 County Commissioner Peggy Littleton, will focus on the Black Forest fire. Representatives from the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, El Paso County Public Health, the El Paso County Disaster Assistance Center and other offices will be on hand to offer information and assistance. "We want to share the information we have available, to listen residents concerns and assure them that we are a community and we will pull together to get through this," Glenn said in a press release.
- CenturyLink is offering free emergency call forwarding to customers who are evacuated from their homes and offices due to the Black Forest and Ca?n City fires. Calls can be forwarded to an alternate local phone number. To activate the service, customers can call 1-800-573-1311.
- Small-business owners can get help with insurance and disaster relief from the Small Business Development Center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 667-3803, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.coloradosbdc.org/coloradosprings.
- All U.S. Postal Service personnel, mail and operations at the Elbert Post Office have been moved to the nearby Kiowa Post Office. Customers who receive their mail in Elbert through a post office box or on a route can pick up their mail at the Kiowa office, 708 Comanche St., 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday.
- If you live east of Interstate 25 and south of State Highway 105 (ZIP Code 80132), your mail was not delivered Friday. You can pick it up at the Monument Post Office, 543 3rd St.
- If you live in the 80908 ZIP Code area, your mail can be picked up at the Briargate Station, 8585 Criterion Drive. The phone number to the station is 265-4409.
- The Postal Service has temporarily closed the Black Forest Retail Postal Unit. All mail and services are being serviced out of the Briargate Station.
- Mail for those in ZIP Code 80831 that wasn't delivered due to road closures can be picked up at the Peyton Post Office, 13055 Bradshaw Road.
- Health insurance company Cigna is lifting certain prescription refill restrictions in El Paso and Huerfano counties through July 27. People covered by a Cigna health plan in those counties may refill their prescriptions ahead of their usual "refill too soon" restrictions. Customers with questions are encouraged to call the customer service phone number on their Cigna ID card or 1-800-244-6224.
- Health insurance company Tricare is offering emergency prescription refills to customers in El Paso, Fremont and Huerfano counties through July 11. To get an emergency refill, take your prescription bottle to any Tricare retail network pharmacy. To locate one, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303.
- Health insurance company UnitedHealth Group asks subscribers who need early prescription refills to call customer care at the number located on their back of their card or (866) 633-2446 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. MT Monday-Friday. Anyone who would like free emotional support can call (866) 342-6892 toll free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Free services for evacuees
- Poor Richard's Restaurant, 324+ N. Tejon St., is offering complimentary pizza and fountain drinks to all evacuees and firefighters. The back play area is available for children to play in. The restaurant is open until 9 p.m. each day.
- First United Methodist Church is offering free child care to evacuated families from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday so parents can take care of housing and other needs. Lunch and activities will be provided. Child care providers are trained in caring for children during times of stress, according to the church. For more information, visit www.1ststeps.net.
- Tuscanos, 3294 Cinema Point, is offering a free lunch June 23 for evacuees of the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires. Reservations are requested and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Upwards of 1,000 guests can be fed. Lunch will include Tuscanos Churrasco, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage. To RSVP, call 597-3800.
- The Women's Resource Agency, located in the Citadel Mall upstairs by JCPenney, 750 Citadel Drive East, Suite 3128, 471-3170, is offering free clothes to all women affected by the fire.
- The Colorado Springs Conservatory is offering free tickets to Saturday's matinee performance of "Oliver!" for Black Forest fire evacuees and residents of the fire zone. Those who wish to attend the show, which will begin at 1 p.m., should arrive at Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., at noon. Please bring an ID. Call 577-4556 for more information.
- A June 18 football camp to be held at Vista Ridge High School, 6888 Black Forest Road, by Northern Colorado football coach Earnest Collins Jr. will be offered free to all kids who've had to evacuate their homes due to area fires. Funds from those who've already paid or will pay tuition for the camp will go to the Red Cross to assist those in the Colorado Springs area, according to a Friday press release from The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation. The camp runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and is for teens ages 14-17. Call Terrance Robinson at (970) 351-1875 or email him at email@example.com with questions.
Help for evacuated animals and pets
- Bear Creek Veterinary Care, 960 Pico Point, 685-1177, is taking dogs under 30 pounds, as well as cats. Call to check availability. "There is no charge, and we will keep their pets as long as the evacuation lasts," said the clinic's Stephanie Fernyak via email.
- The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, 610 Abbot Lane, 473-1741, is accepting cats, dogs and other "small critters" from the evacuated area only.
- The Elbert County Fairgrounds, 95 Ute Ave., Kiowa, (303) 621-3152, is accepting large animals.
- Aavondale Pet Care Center, 17140 Jones Road, Peyton, 683-4617, and neighboring acreages are taking all types of animals, including reptiles, birds, goats and horses. Call to check availability.
Locating missing loved ones
- To locate friends and loved ones who've reported themselves as safe and well, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell.
Locating lost animals
- Those who've lost pets and other animals due to the Black Forest fire are advised to call the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region's lost-and-found line at 473-1741, extension 8763. Boarding fees have been temporarily waived.
Useful information for all community members
- Citizens seeking information about the fire, including evacuation information, can call 444-8300.
- Front Range air quality was deemed "unhealthy for sensitive groups" on Friday, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services. To check for updates, visit www.colorado.gov/airquality/advisory.aspx.
- Those feeling stressed out due to local fires might consider speaking with a friend, journaling, getting and giving hugs, and watching their media intake, according to Memorial Health System. The local mental health crisis line is 635-7000. For more mental health tips from Memorial, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MemorialCOS.
- Those who desire to talk to a professional AspenPointe crisis counselor can call 572-6100 for assistance. For additional information, visit www.aspenpointe.org.
How to help
- At the current rate of distribution, Care and Share only has enough food to last two days, the nonprofit said via a Friday afternoon press release. Those wishing to donate nonperishable food items for fire victims in Black Forest and Ca?n City can bring them to area Care and Share Food Bank facilities Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.: 2605 Preamble Point, Colorado Springs, 528-1247; and 100 Greenhorn Drive, Pueblo, 296-6995. The food drive has been extended to include Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Items needed include canned and boxed meals and snack items. To make a monetary donation: www.careandshare.org (indicate that the donation is for "fire response") or text "donate" to 41010 to make a $10 donation, which will be added to your next phone bill. Volunteers can register at www.careandshare.org/GetInvolved/Volunteer.aspx. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at www.salvationarmypikespeak.wordpress.com/volunteer.
- The Salvation Army of Colorado Springs and El Paso County is collecting water, sports drinks, snacks and monetary donations, said Mary Whatcott, spokesperson. Bottled beverages can be brought to Salvation Army offices at 908 Yuma St. from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until further notice. To make a monetary donation: www.imsalvationarmy.org, 636-3891, send a check to, or drop off a check at, 908 Yuma St.
- The Pikes Peak American Red Cross is requesting financial donations: www.redcross.org (click "DONATE"); 1-800-RED-CROSS; or text "redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation, which will be added to your next phone bill.
- To make a donation of any amount to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund, launched Tuesday to benefit nonprofits providing local disaster relief, visit www.ppcf.org/products/emergency-relief. The fund is modeled off of last year's Waldo Canyon Firefighters Fund but will have more flexibility.
- Those wishing to donate to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region's emergency support fund, which helps families and their animals during natural disasters, can do so at www.hsppr.org/disasterdonation. Funds can be designated for the Black Forest fire via drop-down box on the donation form. Those wishing to donate specific items or volunteer can visit www.hsppr.org for an up-to-date list of needs.
- Monetary donations are needed to support the animals being housed at the Norris-Penrose Events Center. Donations - which will go toward electricity, water and more hay - can be sent to Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation, c/o Rob Alexander, Stockmens Bank, 601 N. Nevada Ave., 80903. The foundation is a nonprofit organization.
- Mercy's Gate, formerly known as Northern Churches Care, is seeking financial donations to help provide fire victims with emergency financial assistance, gas vouchers, food, gift cards and more. To make a monetary donation: www.mercysgatecs.org or send check to Mercy's Gate, P.O. Box 26416, Colorado Springs, CO 80936. Food and gift card donations can be made at the organization's food pantry at Calvary United Methodist Church, 4210 Austin Bluffs Parkway; please call ahead so the pantry knows you're coming.
Other places to donate
- Members of the Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 West Cheyenne Road, student council will hold a food drive for Care and Share on Saturday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. They will accept peanut butter, cereals, canned and boxed meals, soups and prepackaged snacks, as well as monetary donations.
- The Community Partnership for Childhood Development, 2330 Robinson St., will accept children's items such as diapers, wipes, diaper cream, children's clothing, toys and books, coloring books, crayons, markers, baby gear and furniture for the Black Forest fire's youngest victims, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., June 18-19; call Becca Bishop at 884-1414 or 338-8814 with questions.
- A portion of proceeds from The Colorado Springs Street Breakfast will go toward helping those impacted by the Black Forest fire. As usual, the remainder of the money will go toward various aide agencies for families and soldiers at Fort Carson. The breakfast will take place June 19 from 5:30-9 a.m. at the corner of Pikes Peak and Tejon streets. The traditional breakfast of eggs, pancakes, milk, coffee and juice is prepared and served by Fort Carson volunteers and costs $5; children under 5 eat free. Tokens for the breakfast may be purchased from Sertoma Club members in the Pikes Peak region, at Springs Spree Saturday and Sunday, or the morning of the breakfast. For more information, visit www.pikespeakorbust.org.
COMPILED BY ERIN PRATER