Published: June 15, 2013
Critical information for evacuees
- To register yourself as safe and well, visit redcross.org/safeandwell.
- Evacuees seeking a place to stay can go 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 their pets. Shuttles will transport evacuees to food courts and a place to shower on post.
- Peterson Air Force Base is offering shelter to all DOD ID card holders who've been evacuated due to the fires at the base's fitness and sports center, Building 560. Evacuees should 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 pets. 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 bit.ly/14wdoOR to view a preliminary home assessment document.
- The county's Disaster Assistance Center is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily at the El Paso County Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, 444-8300. 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. For more information on the center, visit 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, or housing should stop by the booth, spokeswoman Mary Whatcott said.
- The Pikes Peak YMCA is welcoming Black Forest fire evacuees, first responders and Colorado Springs residents with no air conditioning to its 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.
- 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 ppymca.org.
- Mercy's Gate, formerly known as Northern Churches Care, is offering evacuees assistance with housing, gas, food and counseling. Visit 4285 N, 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 facebook.com/mercysgate.
Useful information for evacuees
- A community meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday 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.
- CenturyLink is offering free emergency call forwarding to customers who are evacuated from their homes and offices due to the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires. Calls can be forwarded to an alternate local phone number. To activate the service, 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, email@example.com. For information, visit colorado sbdc.org/coloradosprings.
- All U.S. Postal Service personnel, mail and operations at the Elbert Post Office have been moved to the Kiowa Post Office. Customers who receive their mail in Elbert 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, 265-4409.
- The Postal Service temporarily has 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 the back of their card or (866) 633-2446, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday. Anyone who would like emotional support can call 866-342-6892 toll free.
Free services for evacuees
- Poor Richard's Restaurant, 324+ N. Tejon St., is offering complimentary pizza and fountain drinks to all evacuees and firefighters.
- First United Methodist Church is offering free child care to evacuated families 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Lunch and activities will be provided. Child care providers are trained in caring for children during times of stress, according to the church. Visit 1ststeps.net.
- Tucanos, 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. Upward of 1,000 guests can be fed. Call 597-3800.
- The Women's Resource Agency in The Citadel mall, 750 Citadel Drive E., 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 Tuesday football camp 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 have had to evacuate their homes due to area fires. Funds from those who've 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 press release from The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation. The camp runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and is for ages 14-17. Call Terrance Robinson at (970) 351-1875 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help for evacuated animals
- Bear Creek Veterinary Care, 960 Pico Point, 685-1177, is taking dogs less than 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," Stephanie Fernyak of the clinic said 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.
- Avondale 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 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, ext. 8763. More than 100 animals brought to the humane society have been reunited with their owners. The group is still caring for nearly 800 animals at its Abbot Lane location, the Palmer Ridge High School shelter and the El Paso County Fairgrounds. Staff and volunteers are working to match reports of lost animals with stray and stranded animals in the burn areas. Those with lost animals can view animals the humane society has found at www.hsppr.org/lost.
Useful information for all community members
- Residents seeking information about the fire, including evacuation information, can call 444-8300.
- Front Range air quality was deemed "unhealthy for sensitive groups" Friday, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services. For updates, visit colorado.gov/airquality/advisory.aspx.
- Those feeling stressed out due to local fires might consider speaking with a friend, writing a journal, getting and giving hugs, and limiting their media intake, according to Memorial Health System. The local mental health crisis line is 635-7000. For more mental health tips: facebook.com/MemorialCOS.
- Those who desire to talk to a professional AspenPointe crisis counselor can call 572-6100. For more information, visit 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. Donations are accepted at 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 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday. Items needed include canned and boxed meals and snack items. To make a monetary donation: 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 phone bill. Volunteers can register at careandshare.org/GetInvolved/Volunteer.aspx.
- The Salvation Army of Colorado Springs and El Paso County is collecting water, sports drinks, snacks and monetary donations, said spokeswoman Mary Whatcott. Drop off bottled beverages at Salvation Army, 908 Yuma St., from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until further notice. To make a monetary donation: imsalvationarmy.org, 636-3891, or send/drop off a check (908 Yuma St.). Those interested in volunteering can sign up at salvationarmy pikespeak.wordpress.com/volunteer.
- The Pikes Peak American Red Cross is requesting financial donations: redcross.org (click "donate); 1-800-RED-CROSS; or text "redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation, which will be added to your 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 ppcf.org/products/emergency-relief. The fund is modeled off 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 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 hsppr.org.
- Monetary donations are needed to support the animals being housed at the Norris-Penrose Events Center. Donations - which will go toward electricity, water and 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.
- Mercy's Gate 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: mercys gatecs.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.
- All Breed Rescue & Training is looking for people to help walk dogs evacuated from the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. The group is trying to fill shifts on Tuesday and Wednesday. To sign up, go to www.signupgenius.com/go/904044EA4AE29AA8-fire
Other places to donate
- Cheyenne Mountain High School student council, 1200 W. Cheyenne Road, will hold a food drive for Care and Share from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. 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, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; call Becca Bishop at 884-1414 or 338-8814.
- A portion of proceeds from The Colorado Springs Street Breakfast will go toward helping those impacted by the Black Forest fire. The rest will go toward agencies that help families and soldiers at Fort Carson. The breakfast - eggs, pancakes, milk, coffee and juice - is 5:30-9 a.m. Wednesday at Pikes Peak and Tejon streets. Cost is $5; ages 5 and younger eat free. For more information, visit pikespeakorbust.org.
- The Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance are at Spring Spree this weekend to provide disaster relief resources for business, information on the Pikes Peak Regional Business Recovery Fund and take donations of business supplies. The three organizations also are working with banks and the Colorado Enterprise Fund to offer a special loan program to help rebuild small businesses in the Pikes Peak region. The Pikes Peak Community Foundation set up the recovery fund to collect donations that will be used to pay down loan fees and interest payments for up to 12 months for qualifying business loans.
COMPILED BY ERIN PRATER, THE GAZETTE