Updated: June 19, 2013 at 11:15 am
Support has flooded in for victims and firefighters of the Black Forest fire since it began June 11. More than 2,000 people remain displaced from their homes. Many organizations are offering shelter, food and other assistance where donations and volunteers are needed.
Let people know you're okay
- To register yourself as safe and well, visit redcross.org/safeandwell.
Shelters for evacuees
- Evacuees can go to the one remaining Red Cross shelter until noon Wednesday. It's at Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Frontage Road, Monument, 719-867-8600. Pets are accepted for evacuees who stay at the high school and care for their pets. The shelter will permanently close at noon Wednesday.
- Peterson Air Force Base is offering shelter to displaced DOD ID card holders at the base's fitness and sports center, Building 560, as long as mandatory evacuations are in place.
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, has foster families willing to take in foster families from other agencies who were evacuated due to the fire. Evacuees are asked to call Hope & Home at 719-575-9887 and ask for Vanessa Beenenga or email firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, call 719-661-6722.
- Fort Carson's Youth Center closed to evacuees on Saturday after serving a small number of troops, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and their family members.
Resources for evacuees
- For information on the status of homes 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. The county is expecting to open a satellite office in the Black Forest area, officials announced Tuesday, but a location has not been determined. For more information on the center, visit bit.ly/OZGako.
- Red Cross is providing food, water, snacks, clean-up materials, safety masks and information at Black Forest entry points near the corners of Shoup Road and Highway 83, Burgess and Black Forest roads and Highway 83 and Hodgen Road as well as at School in the Woods at 12002 Vollmer Road. Red Cross nurses and emotional support are available at the checkpoints, Palmer Ridge High School and the Disaster Assistance Center.
- 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.
- YMCA of the Pikes Peak Regionis welcoming Black Forest fire evacuees and first responders 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:
- 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 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. from 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 719-277-7470. For updates on the assistance offered by Mercy's Gate, visit facebook.com/mercysgate.
- Challenger Learning Center of Colorado is offering scholarships for elementary and middle school students affected by the Black Forest fire to participate in summer camps June 24-28. Registration is required. Call 719-598-9755.
Useful info for evacuees
- CenturyLink is offering free emergency call forwarding to customers who are evacuated from their homes and offices due to the Black Forest fire.
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 coloradosbdc.org/coloradosprings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1-866-342-6892 toll free.
- The Elbert Post Office, 80106, which had relocated operations to Kiowa, has returned to its building. About 20 addresses will not be delivered due to road closures.
- The Black Forest Retail Postal Unit at the Forest Plaza Market reopened Monday.
- Monument, 80132, had 1,400 addresses that did not receive delivery Saturday. Accumulated mail was delivered to addresses outside mandatory evacuation Tuesday. Monument residents in the evacuation zone can pick up mail at the main Post Office, 543 3rd St.
- Delivery resumed Saturday to the Gleneagle area, ZIP 80921.
- Delivery resumed Tuesday to the Peyton area, ZIP 80831.
- Most mail for ZIP 80908, which is the heart of the Black Forest, is not being delivered because of road closures. This mail of about 1,600 addresses is being held at Briargate Station, 8585 Criterion Drive, and can be picked up at the side door in the lobby between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Info: 719-265-4409.
- FedEx and UPS are holding packages with delivery addresses in the mandatory evacuation zone.
Contact FedEx at 1-800-463-3339 or fedex.com/us/customersupport/tracking/index.html. FedEx would like a tracking number, but they might be able to identify packages by name and address.
Contact UPS at 1-800-742-5877 or ups.com/tracking.html. A tracking number is needed.
Free services for evacuees
- Poor Richard's Restaurant, 324+ N. Tejon St., is offering complimentary pizza and fountain drinks to evacuees and firefighters until 100 percent containment.
- Tucanos, 3294 Cinema Point, is offering a free lunch Sunday 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 719-597-3800.
- The Women's Resource Agency in The Citadel mall, 750 Citadel Drive E., Suite 3128, 719-471-3170, is offering free clothes to all women affected by the fire. They are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Friday and on Saturday 1-5 p.m.
-Free legal advice: The El Paso County Bar Association will host Ask-A-Lawyer for victims of the Black Forest Fire from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, at the Disaster Assistance Center at the Citizens Service Center, at 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. No appointment is required. The Denver Bar Association will dedicate its Lawline 9, a call-in program at 9News, to answering legal questions related to the wildfires. The Lawline 9 will run from 4-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19. Callers can reach attorneys at 303-698-0999. The EPCBA will also host a call-in program from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, June 20. Callers can reach attorneys at 719-471-0380, and they will answer general legal questions and those related to the wildfire.
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 Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region closed the animal shelter at Palmer Ridge High School Monday. Remaining animals were moved to 610 Abbott Lane, 719-330-1402.
- Norris-Penrose Event Center reopened Thursday after filling to capacity Tuesday and Wednesday, and can accept horses and other large animals until further notice. The center sheltered 15 horses Tuesday.
- Avondale Pet Care Center, 17140 Jones Road in Peyton, and neighboring acreages are taking all types of animals, including reptiles, birds, goats and horses. Call to check availability at 719-683-4617. Long-term care is available.
- The Black Forest Feed Donations and Boarding Coordination group on Facebook is helping evacuated owners of large animals with boarding, feed and transportation needs contact donors at facebook.com/groups/BFDBC.
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 719-473-1741, ext. 8763.
The group still is caring for about 80 animals at its Abbot Lane location.
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 hsppr.org/lost.
Useful info for all
- Residents seeking information about the fire, including evacuation information, can call 719-444-8300.
- Front Range air quality was deemed "unhealthy for sensitive groups" in recent days, 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 719-635-7000. For more mental health tips: facebook.com/MemorialCOS.
- Those who desire to talk to a professional AspenPointe crisis counselor can call 719-572-6100. For more information, visit aspenpointe.org.
How to help
- For a list of places to donate and volunteer to assistance for evacuees and firefighters of the Black Forest fire, visit helpcoloradonow.org.
- Despite an outpouring of donations, including over 418,500 pounds of food, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado needs food to feed the many victims of the Black Forest fire.
Donations will be accepted at Care and Share facilities through Friday: 2605 Preamble Point, Colorado Springs, 528-1247; and 100 Greenhorn Drive, Pueblo, 719-296-6995.
Items needed include canned and boxed meals and snack items.
To make a monetary donation: careandshare.org and specify "wildfire response" in the "Please apply my donation to" box, 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.
To make a donation, take food and send or drop off checks at 908 Yuma St. The facility is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. or visit imsalvationarmy.org, 719-636-3891. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at salvationarmypikespeak.wordpress.com/volunteer.
- The Pikes Peak American Red Cross is requesting financial donations at 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.
- Broadcasters across the state will host a phone bank fundraiser from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday to benefit Colorado chapters of American Red Cross. The phone bank will not take calls until that time at 1-877-667-6727.
Participating broadcasters include Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Public Television, KUVO, KUNC, KRCC, 9NEWS, 7NEWS, CBS4, FOX 31 Denver, Colorado's Own Channel 2 and KCEC Univision.
- 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 http://www.hsppr.org/blackforestfire.
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 and hay donations are needed to support the horses being housed at the Norris-Penrose Event Center. Donations, which will go toward electricity, water and hay, can be taken to stockmen's bank at 601 N. Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- In an effort to provide support to families who have been affected by the recent fires Panera Bread Cafe customers are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food donations at any of the five Panera Bread locations in Colorado Springs. Each Panera Bread café in Colorado Springs will have a drop off box for people to bring their donations. Panera Bread will donate $1 for every 10 pounds of food donated to Care and Share Food Bank (up to $10,000). Panera Bread will donate all items dropped off to the Care and Share Food Bank
- 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: 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 at 719-277-7470 so the pantry knows you're coming.
Other places to donate
- The Sky Sox will accept donations of nonperishable food items such as canned and boxed meals, soups, cereals and snack items to assist in relief efforts.
Those who donate will receive a free upper reserved seat voucher for any home game this season except July 4 and pending availability.
- Battle Bumms, a local organization that provides cloth-diaper starter sets to military families in need, is collecting diapers, wipes, bottles, infant formula, personal hygiene products, blankets, clothes, toys, nonperishable food items and pet food at 1302 Osgood Road from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily "until everyone can return home and the fire is out." For updates, visit www.facebook.com/BattleBumms.
- The Space Foundation Discovery Center, 4425 Arrowswest Drive, is a collection point for Care and Share Food Bank donations. The center will take donations 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday until further notice. Donors receive a coupon for $2 off admission. Contact the center at 719-576-8000.
- The Yellow Cab Co. of Colorado Springs, 4625 Town Center Drive, is a collection point for Care and Share Food Bank donations, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., through Friday.
- The Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd, is a collection point for Care and Share Food Bank donations, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., through Friday. Call 477-2100 with questions.
- 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, 5:30-9 a.m. Wednesday at Pikes Peak and Tejon streets, will go toward helping those impacted by the Black Forest fire. The rest will go toward agencies that help Fort Carson soldiers and families. Eggs, pancakes, milk, coffee and juice will be served for $5; ages 5 and younger eat free. Information at pikespeakorbust.org.