Hundreds of people have returned to their homes as the firefighters reach 45% containment. Though still a tragedy, only two deaths are reported so far. (Both bodies were found in a destroyed home.) The total acres burned so far counts over 17000. Residents of the Mountain Shadow neighborhood–one of the areas worst affected by the wildfire–were allowed to tour the damage today. Obama declared the damaged area a disaster zone, allowing us to receive federal funding in helping with firefighting efforts and recovery.
However, with all the damage and homes lost, it could have been much worse. I would like to thank the firefighters and local officials for handling the crisis the way they did. Without their help, it is almost certain that there would have been more lives lost. Many firefighters continued to fight, despite lack of sleep, food, and energy. Many were forced to take naps because they refused to rest, instead wanting to help with the efforts.
And despite a few looters and scammers, the community has really come together to support one another. Donations poured in for firefighters, evacuees, and volunteers. As shelters filled, neighbors offered their homes to those in need. We even took in a foster dog because many animal shelters were too full.
I can still see smoke flowing from the mountain tops and at night, the smell of campfire still lingers in the air, and there is an orange glow that surrounds certain spots of the mountains. The fight is certainly not over, but it is definitely calming down.
For a creative way to donate to the Colorado Branch of the Red Cross, click here.