GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4)- The East Troublesome Fire reached 100% containment this week, but the fight is far from over.
“The needs are going to be many when we find out what’s below the snow… with putting a house back together, repairing a house,” said Jennifer Brown.
Brown didn’t lose her home, but knows many who did. There were 1,100 structures lost. Among those are 350 homes, of which more than 30 are mobile homes.
“We hear the devastating stories day after day. The harrowing stories,” Brown continued. “You know, we kind of got out with fire on our tails.”
After weeks a brainstorming, Brown, along with four other Grand County women, launched Adopt a Family.
“We were thinking, ‘What can we do? What can several ladies get together, and how powerful can we be?’ And we hit the deck running this morning when we launched this.”
It was just in time for the holidays, but they expect the help will be needed far beyond.
“We’re looking for people to just help, not for just the holidays but down the road. Sifting through ash, pulling up dead logs, cutting down burnt trees. So there’s a lot of talent out there, so we’re asking everybody to just bring their talent to us,” said Brenda Freeman.
You can donate your skills, or adopt a family to help with needs through the holiday or longer.
“You can nominate yourself, you can nominate someone else, or you can adopt a family, and then it’s our job to pair those folks and meet the need,” said Brown.
While many of the homes were secondary homes, there were also many renters, some without renters insurance and some primary homeowners without homeowners insurance.
“We have huge road ahead of us. We don’t have enough contractors in Grand County. We didn’t have enough contractors before the fire,” Freeman said. “We didn’t have enough housing for our workforce before the fire, and now we don’t have enough housing for our residents, and this is going to be a two or three year process to try to rejuvenate and get our homes back up here.”
While rebuilding is going to require a massive amount of work, the damage goes beyond structural.
“There could be mental health needs, and that’s part of how we want to partner with one another and how we can reach whatever that looks like in our community,” said Brown.
Andrea Cox, Jennifer Brown, Daryn Parker, Shannon Schliep and Brenda Freeman launched Adopt a Family on Wednesday morning. By the evening, they had more than 40 people ready to sponsor a family in need.