By Jesse Sarles

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A push is on to raise money to transform an old fire truck in Evergreen into an educational tool to help spread awareness about wildfire readiness. It comes on the heels of the Elephant Butte Fire, which burned 50 acres in Evergreen and forced hundreds of homes to evacuate for a short time earlier this summer.

The project is being organized by the group Rotary Wildfire Ready, which is funded through the Evergreen Rotary Foundation. Spokesman Doug Turner said the fire gave the Colorado mountain community a big scare. He says the area “dodged a bullet.”

“Wildfire is our biggest risk up here. If we get a Hayman-type fire up here we’re going to have some real issues and right now, frankly, we’re just not prepared and we’re not educated,” said Turner, referring to 2002’s Hayman Fire, which is the largest wildfire in Colorado history.

An image of the plume of smoke from the Elephant Butte Fire from outside a home in Evergreen in July.

An image of the Elephant Butte Fire from outside a home in Evergreen in July. (credit: Tom Meyers)

The yellow fire truck was made in 1979 but is still in good driving shape. The goal is to raise $27,000 so it can be outfitted with special panels, or mini-exhibits, that provide information about how to get you and your family ready if a wildfire breaks out in the area. Topics on the panels would include defensible space, evacuation planning and emergency notification systems. LED Screens would also be mounted on the top to show helpful videos. Many of the features would appeal directly to kids.

The truck would be driven to different locations in Colorado mountain communities and parked where people could easily interact with it.

Get more information about the project at rotarywildfireready.com. You can make a donation at donate.evergreenrotary.org.

Jesse Sarles

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