GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Some of the evacuees of the High Park Fire were emotional Wednesday morning as they described how hard it is to wait for the news about their homes.
“It’s been a roller coaster but we’ve been in high spirits and I guess all the responders have been keeping us going and we kind of got a little teary this morning. We’re just not going to look backwards we’re going to look forward and rebuild,” said evacuated resident Clay Wise.
Wise lives on Whale Rock Road about five miles from Vern’s up Rist Canyon. He believes his home was destroyed because a neighbor was able to pass along some information.
“We actually already have a volunteer fire department guy who lives on our hill and he lost his own home and he’s willing to go back in there and give us reports and actually gave us some pretty accurate reports and most of us on that hill received reports yesterday and most of it is all ash,” said Wise. “Even hot enough to melt cast iron. I guess the fire was extremely hot.”
Watch High Park Fire evacuated resident Clay Wise’s entire interview on CBS4 This Morning below.
Wise said he has plans to rebuild if that’s the case but until he officially learns the fate of his home, he has to wait.
“The hardest part is not being able to get up there and actually visualize it. When that happens that will probably bring a few tears, too,” said Wise.
Some residents were expected to learn Wednesday whether they will be allowed back home or when they may return home.
While the High Park Fire continues to pose a threat on areas to the north, south and west of the burn area, officials are optimistic that there won’t need to be additional evacuations on Wednesday.
Evacuee Glen Fackler has been evacuated from his home since Saturday. He is anxiously awaiting news.
“We’re concerned about it but when I came to Colorado 50 years ago I didn’t have anything. I got half of it left. We’re trying to remain upbeat,” said Fackler.
He believes his home is spared but would like to see for himself.
“Well, we have no idea of what it is really like. We have some assurance that our place survived. We have a neighbor who stayed up there and we talked to him Saturday and we talked to him Monday and he said we were still alright at that point,” said Fackler.
“I would like to get in to get some medication, some more clothes and things like this. I’ve been trying to come down here to find out when they’re going to let someone in either escorted, which I’d be happy to do. I’d like to see and get some stuff out of there.”
The Mile High chapter of the American Red Cross will have trained staff available for those evacuees who receive disappointing news.
“We are expecting some high emotions with our evacuees and our residents. We are prepared for that with some of the resources and services we offer with Red Cross mental health,” said American Red Cross spokesman Adam Rae.
Rae said the staff has dealt with those experiencing tragedy and is ready to help.
“We do have Red Cross mental health on staff. They are trained, licensed counselors and therapists that deal with disasters. Confidentiality is key to them. We encourage evacuees to come down and have a cup of coffee and talk with them,” said Rae.
Some of those evacuees who learned they could return home Tuesday actually stayed at the evacuation center to help those who had to stay out of their homes for another night.
Rae said that isn’t unusual, “That’s one thing we love about Colorado. People take care of one another around here. People take care of their friends and want to talk to folks and make sure everyone is okay.”