Black Forest Fire: Ways to get, give help (Thursday)

Aerial view of the Black Forest fire Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Photo by John Wark Photography

Critical information for evacuees

- To or to register yourself as safe and well, visit

- 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

- The shelter at New Life Church was closed due to smoke.

- Soldiers and families dislocated by the fire can find shelter at Fort Carson's Youth Center, Building 1518, 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.

- Evacuees seeking information on the status of their homes can visit 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.-6 p.m. Organizations represented at the center include AspenPointe, Colorado Springs Utilities, AAA, various insurance companies and various county offices such as El Paso County Public Health. For more information on the center, visit

- 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 West

- Downtown, 207 North Nevada Avenue

- Southeast, 2190 Jet Wing Drive

- Fountain Valley, 301 East Iowa Ave.

- Cottonwood Creek Recreational Center, 3920 Dublin Blvd.

- Memorial Park Recreational Center, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

For additional information, visit

- The DoubleTree by Hilton, 1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-8900, is offering reduced room rates for evacuees and will accept pets.

- 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. Mondays 4-7 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Thursdays 1-4 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m.-12 p.m. For information, call 277-7470. For updates on the assistance offered by Mercy's Gate, visit

Useful information for evacuees

- 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, For more information, visit

- All United States 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., Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 7:30-10:30 a.m.

- 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.

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 childcare to evacuated families Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. so parents can take care of housing and other needs. Lunch and activities will be provided. Childcare providers are trained in caring for children during times of stress, according to the church. For more information, visit

Help for evacuated animals and pets

- Rocky Mountain Equine, 481-2749, is matching requests with resources for those needing to move large animals.

- 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. Check availability.

Locating missing loved ones

- To locate friends and loved ones who've reported themselves as safe and well, visit

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 Thursday, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Human Services. To check for updates, visit

- The Peak Vista community health center located at Falcon Elementary School, 12050 Falcon Highway, Peyton, 344-6247, is offering free help to those with respiratory issues. Those of all ages will be seen. Insurance is not required.

- 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

- Those who desire to talk to a professional AspenPointe crisis counselor can call 572-6100 for assistance. For additional information, visit

How to help

- The Salvation Army of Colorado Springs and El Paso County is collecting water, sports drinks and monetary donations, said Mary Whatcott, spokesperson. Bottled beverages can be brought to Salvation Army offices at 908 Yuma St. from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. until further notice. To make a monetary donation:, 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: (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.

- 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 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m: 2605 Preamble Point, Colorado Springs, 528-1247; and 100 Greenhorn Drive, Pueblo, 296-6995. Items needed include canned and boxed meals and snack items. To make a monetary donation: (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

- 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 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 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 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: 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

- 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 2013 home game (except July 4; 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. each day daily "until everyone can return home and the fire is out." For updates, visit

erin prater, the gazette


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