Spring Fire Huerfano & Costilla Counties Red Cross Support

Red Cross Closes Evacuation Shelter in Walsenburg

Red Cross Recovery Support Still Available

Colorado Springs, CO, Thursday, July 12, 2018 – The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming has closed the evacuation shelter in Walsenburg. The shelter, located at the Huerfano County Community Center, was opened due to the evacuation requirements for the Spring Creek Fire.

The shelter was opened June 29, 2018 with a total of 74 overnight stays at the facility. The shelter was used during the day as an information and meeting point for evacuees with three meals provided each day. Frequent updates about the fire were presented at the shelter by incident command in an effort to keep evacuees informed.

The closing of the shelter does not suggest that the Red Cross has ended the response to the Spring Fire. Volunteers and staff will continue to provide recovery services over the next several days. Anyone affected by the Spring Fire and in need of Red Cross recovery support is urged to call the casework hotline at 719-785-2768. Caseworkers will provide access to Red Cross support as well as to support available from other agencies and organizations.

Follow the Red Cross on Twitter at @COWYRedCross. Visit our blog for the latest support information for the Spring Fire at http://cowyredcrossblog.org/index.php/2018/06/28/spring-creek-wildfire-support/.

Information is also available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wcoredcross.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018 1PM– The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming has closed the evacuation shelter in Fort Garland. The shelter, located at the Fort Garland/Blanca Community Center, was opened due to the evacuation requirements for the Spring Creek Fire.

The shelter was opened June 28, 2018 with a total of 69 overnight stays at the facility. The shelter stay numbers do not reflect that the facility was used during the day as an information and meeting point for evacuees and responders. More than 100 meals were served at the shelter each day. Many of those meals were provided by businesses and restaurants in the local area.

The closing of the shelter does not suggest that the Red Cross has ended the response to the Spring Fire. Volunteers and staff will continue to provide recovery services over the next several days. Anyone affected by the Spring Fire and in need of Red Cross recovery support is urged to call the casework hotline at 719-785-2768. Caseworkers will provide access to Red Cross support as well as to support available from other agencies and organizations.

Follow the Red Cross on Twitter at @COWYRedCross. Visit our blog for the latest support information for the Spring Fire at http://cowyredcrossblog.org/index.php/2018/06/28/spring-creek-wildfire-support/.

Information is also available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ppredcross.

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Update: Thursday, July 12, 1o:00 AM – The American Red Cross has fulfilled its sheltering mission in Huerfano and Costilla counties, with no further disaster-caused sheltering needs. The shelter at the Fort Garland community center will close today at 1 PM. The shelter in the Huerfano County Community Center in Walsenburg will close today at 3pm.

Volunteers prepare to bring Red Cross services to communities affected by the Spring Fire. Photo by Kate Walters/American Red Cross

While the Red Cross is shrinking its operation in Huerfano and Costilla counties, it will continue to provide recovery services for the foreseeable future. Red Cross also maintains a chapter in Colorado Springs, field offices in Alamosa and Pueblo, and a network of local responders in every community who respond to house fires and other small disasters.

Anyone needing Red Cross services in the area should call (719) 785-2768 or call 211.

 

 

Update: Saturday, July 7, 2018 – The Red Cross continues to operate 2 shelters for the Spring Creek Fire.

 

Disaster Program Manager, Bill Werner, on a tour of the Red Cross shelter in Ft. Garland with Governor Hickenlooper, Senator Gardner and Representative Tipton.

Overnight there were 9 people at the shelter in Fort Garland and 6 people at the shelter in Walsenburg.

On Friday, Governor John Hickenlooper, Representative Scott Tipton and Senator Cory Gardner visited the shelter in Fort Garland. The Governor expressed his concern for those affected by the fire and for those fighting the fire.

Saturday morning people how lived in the Forbes Park area were allowed back into their homes but that only lasted 4 hours. Red Cross was on scene providing cleanup kits, water, shovels and rakes to help with cleanup.

Red Cross responders were at the Disaster Assistance Center in La Veta and Fort Garland offering clean up equipment, safety rules for recovery and emotional support from our licensed professional counselors.

A community meeting was held in Fort Garland and it was well attended as announcements were made about homes that were destroyed.

Community meeting in La Veta.

Community Meeting in Fort Garland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update: Friday, July 6, 2018, 2PM – The Red Cross continues to operate 2 shelters for Spring Creek Fire.

A Red Cross volunteer talks to an evacuee outside the Red Cross shelter in Fort Garland. Photo by Roger Enix/American Red Cross

day, July 6, 2018, 2PM – Overnight there were 5 people staying at the shelter in Walsenburg with 2 people residing at the shelter in Fort Garland. In both locations there were people staying outside in their vehicles.

Meals at the shelters are being provided with support of the community.

Colorado Lt. Governor, Donna Lynne visited the fire

Lt. Governor Donna Lynne talks with Red Crosser Kendal Shafield. Photo by Walt Palmer/Red Cross

operations in La Veta, CO and the shelter at the Huerfano County Community Center to reassure the work being done. She was greeted by Kendal Shafield, the Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist from Pueblo and Fund Development Coordinator Karen Kennedy. Lt. Governor Lynne was impressed with the operational effort and with the support being provided by the community.

The Red Cross stands ready to support people who have been evacuated and ready to support them when they get to return to their homes. If you would like tips on recover you can read some of the tips from the Red Cross on our blog story at COWYRedCrossblog.org.

 

 

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Update: Wednesday, July 4, 2018 9 AM – Red Cross shelters remain open in Walsenburg and in Fort Garland to support evacuations for the Spring Fire. Overnight 3 people stayed at the shelter in Walsenburg with 8 people at the shelter in Fort Garland. On early Tuesday morning the nearly 40 scouts were evacuated from the Spanish Peaks Scout Camp. They were taken to the shelter in Walsenburg around 1 AM. The scouts left the shelter Tuesday afternoon.

Red Cross provided cleanup kits to people allowed to return to their homes in Costilla County. Kits were provided by the Salvation Army and distributed by Red Cross. Photn by Roger Enix/American Red Cross

Disaster Assistance Centers have been open for evacuees to find important information abut the fire and resources that will be available to them for reentry and recovery. There has been some movement in that direction in the past 24 hours. Visit SLVEmergency.org for information on the western side of the fire. Call 211 for information in Huerfano County. Fire information is available at facebook.com/springfire2018. The DAC for Huerfano County is at La Veta High School. For Costilla County the DAC is at Centennial High School in San Luis.

Red Cross volunteers continue to work with Federal, State and local governments, as well as fire teams to make sure we are all together with our response. If and when there is possible repopulation into the fire area the Red Cross will be on scene with useful cleanup and personal items. If you want tips for returning to your home visit our website here.

If you would like to help the Red Cross help people affected by disasters like the wildfires in Colorado please make a financial donation:

Click on redcross.org/donate

Call 1-800-REDCROSS

Text the word redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation that will be charged to your cell phone bill.

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Update for Monday, July 2, 2018, 9 PM– The American Red Cross continued to operate multiple shelters for the Spring Fire. At the same time our volunteers worked closely with local, state and federal fire officials to make sure that the needs of the evacuees and of the fire fighters were being met. In a situation like the Spring Fire the Red Cross serves as the liaison for “mass care”. This means that the Red Cross is expected to take the lead to help coordinate support for the evacuees and the community.

Yvette Vialpando (R) and Nancy Estrada prepared lunch ofr the shelter residents in Walsenburg. Photo by Bill Fortune

Fire activity continued on Monday with additional evacuation requirements. The Red Cross shelter remained open in Walsenburg at the  Huerfano Community Center. Work was completed on the shower system and by midday residents were able to take showers at the shelter site. Lunch was provided by the community center. “Normally we serve senior citizens lunch every day,” said Yvette Vialpando, who works magic in the kitchen. “This time we wanted to make sure that the shelter residents had what they needed so we invited them to lunch with us.”

Ed Thompson arrived at the shelter on Saturday, June 30. He lives in Navaho Ranch, an area

Cots line the wall, some with oxygen supplies and other medical needs. Photo by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

that was under mandatory evacuation. He commented about the conditions at the shelter. “It is actually pretty good here.  Getting used to the Red Cross cot has been a challenge but the Red Cross staff is very polite and helpful.” His biggest concern was getting back home. Originally from the Houston, TC area, Ed is used to evacuating for hurricanes but not for wildfires.

Rumor has it that if the shelter is still open there just may be a barbecue on Wednesday with some live entertainment.

On the other side of the mountains, in Costilla County, the shelter remained open at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center. About 70 people showed up for lunch and information with a briefing from the Type II team incident commander.

 

 

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Update for Spring Fire – Sunday, July 1, 2018 1100 p.m. – 

Public Information Officer visits the Red Cross shelter with Spring Fire update

Evacuees and other community members were treated to their own Public Information Officer right on site at the Red Cross Shelter at the Huerfano County Community Center. Up-to-date and accurate information is often hard to come by during a disaster. This evening an informational meeting was held in the town of La Veta located over twenty minute’s drive from the Red Cross shelter in Walsenburg.

Evacuees settle in to receive information about the Spring Fire.

With the long travel distance being an issue, we are thankful that Huerfano County Administrator John Galusha who is an acting Public Information Officer at the Huerfano Incident Command Post was able to make the trip down to the shelter and provide the latest information about weather patterns, fire behavior, fire fighter activities, and evacuations. Shout out to our Red Cross shelter volunteers for helping support that event! There were about 25 people at the shelter this evening who were very relieved to have the opportunity to have many of their questions answered.

 

Here’s just one example of the many creative ways the community has reached out to show support for first responders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update for Spring Fire – Sunday, July 1, 2018 Noon – The American Red Cross shelters remain open in Fort Garland, CO and in Walsenburg, CO.

Red Cross volunteer Stu Nieberg talks withg evacuees Nipa and Wayne Soderquist at the shelter in Walsenburg, CO. Photo by Kate Walters.

Overnight 6 people stayed at the shelter in Walsenburg while 8 people stayed at the shelter in Fort Garland. Several people stayed outside the shelters in campers and vehicles.

The Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief provided dinner Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning for evacuees and first responders. Red Cross volunteers remain on site to provide comfort and care to people struggling to deal with this tragic wildfire event.

Since the wildfires began in Colorado last week the Red Cross has provided over 700 meals and 51 people have stayed at Red Cross operated shelters.

The Red Cross has 4 shelters opened, 2 for the Spring Fire and 2 for the High Chateau Fire in Teller County. We have volunteers at the emergency operations centers (EOC) in 3 locations to ensure coordinated operations.

How you can help? Please do not bring donations to the Red Cross or the Red Cross run shelters. If you want to support the Red Cross visit redcross.org/donate or text the word “redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation that will be put on your cell phone bill. You can also call 1-800-REDCROSS to make a donation.

How can you get help? If you are in need of Red Cross support please call 1-800-REDCROSS or your local 211 outlet. TO find a shelter location visit www.redcross.org and click on GET HELP.

Tip for preparing to evacuate are available at www.redcross.org/prepare.

For emergency information in the San Luis Valley visit slvemergency.org or follow slvemergency on Twitter and Facebook.

Fire information is available from the incident command team on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/springfire2018 .

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UPDATE for Spring Fire: Saturday, June 30, 2018, 11 PM – 

 

**IMPORTANT**

View of the Spring Fire from the town of La Veta. Photo by Kendall Shafield

There will be a general information meeting for all evacuees and individuals impacted by The Spring Fire in Huerfano County.

Where: La Veta High School Gymnasium

When: Sunday, July 1, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Space is limited. You are encouraged to participate via facebook live meeting at:

https://www.facebook.com/springfire2018

Evacuees may come to the school cafeteria at 4:00 p.m. to register for re-entry. Bring proof of residence and proper government Issued ID

 

 

 

It has been a very very busy day on the Huerfano County side of the Spring Fire as the Red Cross continues to provide support for the Spring Fire in Huerfano and Costilla County. The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Organization provided 70 hot breakfasts for first responders. Seventy boxed lunches were delivered to first responders. A hot meal complete with fresh fruit and vegetables was served for dinner!!

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief provided 3 meals today to first responders

Due to new mandatory and pre evacuations announcements today, The Red Cross shelter at Huerfano Community Center in Walsenburg remains open and is actively serving evacuees. Information provided by the county is posted at the shelter location.

Area residents have been very generous in offering in kind donations. We are not equipped to accept these donations at this time. You may take your non-perishable food items to your local Care and Share. They are well equipped to receive these donations. They are one of our strong community partners and we will work with them, as demand requires.

Lori Asiu serves dinner at the evacuation shelter in Walsenburg.

 

 

Monetary donations may be made to The La Veta Fire Protection District, PO Box 44, La Veta, CO 81055, or refer to their website at http://www.lavetafire.org

NOTE: Official Spring Fire information can be found at the following https://www.facebook.com/HuerfanoCountyOEM/  https://www.facebook.com/SpringFire2018/.  This information is maintained by the Incident Command managing the Spring Fire.

 

UPDATE for Spring Creek Fire: Friday, June 29, 2018, 3 PM – According to Huerfano County 911 Facebook page (facebook.com/huerfano911) a community public information meeting is scheduled for 6PM at the La Veta High School especially for people in the evacuation and pre-evacuation areas.

 

CBDR helps feed during disasters. Here they are feeding volunteers at the CSEPP exercise in Pueblo. Photo by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief (CBDR) will provide meals for fire fighters at the La Veta high school this evening. This service has been invoked through the Colorado Feeding Task Force, Part of the Colorado Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (COVAD).

NOTE: Official Fire Information for the Spring Fire is available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SpringFire2018/. This information is maintained by the Incident Command managing the Spring Fire.

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Update for Spring Creek Fire: Friday, June 29, 2018, 10 AM – The Red Cross continues to operate two shelters for the Spring Fire. Overnight 4 people stayed at the shelter in Blanca, CO with 14 people staying overnight at the shelter in Walsenburg, CO.

Red Cross provided food for shelter residents and for first responders. Thursday Red Crossers carried water into the fire zone to make sure firefighters were hydrated.

CO State Rep Donald Valdez (cowboy hat) stands with Red Cross volunteers at the Blanca Shelter. Photo by Ayesha Williams/American Red Cross carried water supplies to fire fighters in the fire area. Thursday evening our teams fed 40 fire fighters at the shelter in Blanca.

State Representative Donald Valdez visited the shelter in Blanca to check on the status of the shelter and to

interact with clients impacted by the recent Spring Hill Fire evacuations.

Volunteers Vanessa and Alejandra Torres took water into the fire zone to help hydrate firefighters. Photo by Bill Werner/American Red Cross

Fire concerns continue and it is important for all Coloradans to be watchful and to be prepared for evacuations. Make sure you have your 72-hour evacuation kit ready. The Red Cross mobile app, Emergency, can help you decide what items to pack in your kit. If you are told to evacuate you may not have much time so being prepared can save a lot of stress. Download the app at redcross.org/apps or your preferred app vendor.

Today we will work with our amazing partners to ensure that all requests for feeding are met. The Disaster Feeding Task Force will work closely with us to make sure needs are met.

For emergency information in the San Luis Valley follow SLVEmergency on Twitter or visit SLVEmergency.org. For information in Huerfano County visit facebook.com/Huefano911.

For preparedness information visit redcross.org/prepare.

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Update for Spring Creek Fire Response: Thursday, June 28, 2018, 4 PM – The Red Cross evacuation center remains open for those people evacuated due to the Spring Creek Fire in Costilla County. A community meeting was held at the Blanca/Fort Garland Recreation Center at 1:00 PM.

According to Bill Werner, Disaster Program Manager for the San Luis Valley, the Red Cross will provide three meals-per-day along with water and snacks. Cots and blankets are also available for overnight accommodations.

Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Bill Werner speaks at the community meeting in Blanca, CO

“We will also have an information board in place,” He said. “We want to make sure people have what they need and information is a key element.”

Community meetings are scheduled at the shelter location for 1:00 PM Friday and daily as long as there is a need. For the latest emergency information continue to follow SLVEmergency on Twitter and visit SLVEmergency.org.

HOW CAN I HELP?

At this time there is no need for donations. The Red Cross and our partners have ample supplies of cots, blankets, food and water.

If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief you can visit redcross.org/donate or call 1-800-REDCROSS. A donation to disaster relief will help countless people affected by disasters like the wildfires in Colorado.

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Update for the Spring Creek Fire Response: Thursday, June 28, 2018, 10 AM – The Red Cross evacuation shelter remains open at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center in Blanca, CO. Overnight 5 people stayed at the shelter. Red Cross volunteers are also staffing the Emergency Operations Centers for Huerfano and Costilla Counties to ensure a coordinated response should additional Red Cross support be requested.

Meals will be provided at the shelter for anyone affected by the Spring Creek Fire. In addition, the Red Cross will provide food and hydration support for fire fighters.

Follow the Colorado and Wyoming Red Cross on Twitter as @COWYRedCross for the latest Red Cross information. Local emergency information is available at SLVEmergency.org. You can also follow them on Twitter as @SLVEmergency.

For wildfire preparedness and evacuation tips visit this link. 

To stay up to date on all emergencies download the free Red Cross mobile app, Emergency. The app will help you prepare, respond and recover in an emergency. Also download the free Red Cross mobile app, FirstAid. This app will be very helpful with any medical emergency. These apps are available from your preferred app provider or from the Red Cross at www.redcross.org/apps.

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Spring Creek Fire as seen from Red Cross Shelter. Photo courtesy KKTV

The American Red Cross of Colorado & Wyoming has opened an evacuation shelter for people affected by the Spring Creek fire. The shelter is located at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center, 17591 E. Hwy 160 in Blanca, CO.

If you are impacted by the Spring Creek Fire you are encouraged to go to the shelter for support and information. Red Cross volunteers will be on scene and there will be cots, blankets, food and water as needed.

Follow the Colorado Red Cross on Twitter for more information: @COWYRedCross.

For the latest emergency information follow @SLVEmergency or visit SLVEmergency.org