FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s been nine days since the High Park Fire started, and more than 1,700 personnel are involved. That includes firefighters from many different departments in Colorado.
It’s been a tough battle against the stubborn wildfire, and there have been good days and bad.
Through it all, positive messages from the community have really helped, according to incident commander Bill Hahnenberg.
Hahnenberg opened his Monday morning fire media briefing with a message of thanks from all the people involved in battling the fire.
“I’d like to start out by recognizing the community support,” Hahnenberg said, showing off a poster drawn by some Northern Colorado children featuring an American flag and bearing the message “We hope you guys get the fire out.”
He said the firefighting teams have been getting lots of similar drawings and encouraging words from the community, something he said is very valuable as the fire continues to rage.
“They are meaningful to our firefighters,” he said. “It’s been great — thanks for that.”
Susan Campbell of Fort Collins is among those in the Northern Colorado community who has been grateful for the firefighters’ efforts.
“I dropped this off with gratitude for the fire crews who saved our homes in the east side of Horsetooth,” she wrote on June 14, referring to the photo of the sign above. “We are back in our home and pray for those in harm’s way.”
Sheila Moody of Thornton and her family are among those whose thoughts are also with the victims of the fire, which includes hundreds of people who have lost their houses. On Saturday officials said the fire has burned 181 homes.
Moody shared photos with CBS4 of her children helping to raise money for the High Park Fire victims on June 13 with a lemonade stand:
“My kids and I went and picked strawberries from Berry Patch Farms today, and made strawberry lemonade with it. Which they sold to help with the High Park Fire!” she wrote.
On Sunday the American Red Cross’s Colorado chapters shared the story of young Robert Stone, who gathered up his savings and brought a money order to the evacuation center at The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
Ston’e father had to evacuate from his home near the burn area and had to spend several days at the center.
“The generosity of donors like Robert is what makes it possible for the Red Cross to be able to respond to disasters like the High Park Fire, as well as the hundreds of smaller disaster that occur in Colorado every year. Thank you for your support!” Red Cross officials wrote in a posting on their website.
Officials say the best way to help the victims of the fire and those fighting the fire is to give money to the American Red Cross. Donations are also needed to the Salvation Army, ACS Community Lift and the Larimer County Humane Society, which is involved in housing evacuated animals.