Tuesday brought some of the worst devastation in Colorado's dangerous wildfire season. A deadly combination of record heat, high winds, and low humidity have fueled the fires' intensity—particularly the Waldo Canyon fire, which has forced more than 32,000 residents to evacuate in the Colorado Springs area.
The High Park fire, which has burned since June 9 (just west of Fort Collins), has destroyed more than 87,000 acres and 250 homes. It is the second largest fire in Colorado's history. (Let's hope it stays that way.)
As of Wednesday morning, there are still 10 active fires in the state. Like many Coloradans, we're glued to Twitter and Facebook and watching helplessly as our neighbors across the state fight to save their homes and communities. As we watched the news unfold last night, we—like so many of you—asked: How can we help? Here, some ways that you can get involved.
1. Donate food and personal care products: Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado has a list of most-needed items on their website. Drop off items at 2605 Preamble Point in Colorado Springs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
2. Help out our animal friends: Area shelters need donations to help rescued animals. Bales of grass hay are needed for horses and livestock at Norris Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs (1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd.). Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region also needs kennels and bottled water for volunteers.
3. Think big: Donate larger items such as furniture, chainsaws, camping equipment, shovels, tarps, and generators at the former Mervyn's space at Foothills Mall in Fort Collins (215 E. Foothills Parkway). Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
4. Cash out: Monetary donations allow relief organizations to purchase exactly what is needed—and in a hurry. For a list of reputable agencies actively helping with the fires, click here or dial 211. You can choose which charity to support from a comprehensive list.
5. Encourage tourism: Not all of our state is burning. Governor John Hickenlooper emphasized Tuesday that only a half percent of public lands and 400 of our 10,000 campsites are affected by the fires. Tourism dollars will help us rebuild.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.