Neighbors keep helping neighbors in need

The official cost of fighting the High Park Fire is rapidly approaching $20 million. That’s just to pay for the 2,000 professionals battling the 68,200-acre blaze, and all the aircraft and engines and other equipment, and all the support services keeping them clothed and fed.

It doesn’t account for the 189 homes confirmed lost, the cost to families to rebuild and replace possessions, or the losses to businesses that depend on summer tourism. And it doesn’t account for the expenses incurred by the local fire companies — Rist Canyon, Poudre Canyon and Glacier View.

All three companies are staffed by volunteers who have now taken two weeks off their day jobs to protect their neighborhoods. In addition to the Thank You signs lining Overland Trail, the local community continues to find ways to give back to the firefighters and the organizations helping the victims of the High Park Fire.

After a successful benefit concert for the Northern Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross on June 16, the Bar Double S is hosting a fundraiser for Rist Canyon VFD on Friday, June 22. Local band Elmer Funk will play at 8 p.m., and anyone who makes a donation will get a New Belgium beer on the house — 100 percent of proceeds go to the department.

The Red Cross, which has been staffing the evacuation center since it was first set up at Cache La Poudre Middle School then moved to The Ranch in Loveland, received $20,000 from the Colorado Eagles hockey team and Clear Channel Media & Entertainment of Northern Colorado after an on-air and online promotion over Father’s Day weekend.

A benefit concert at Avogadro’s Number on Wednesday raised about $5,000 for the Red Cross, Rist Canyon, NoCo Rebuilding Network, and the Larimer Humane Society, which has been arranging for the care of evacuated animals, from horses to hamsters. Community radio station KRFC 88.9FM is sponsoring another event at Avo’s next Wednesday, June 27, at 7 p.m. featuring local band The Holler! with the Matt Skinner Trio and Cary Morin. Food, drink, silent auction and cash donations will benefit Rist Canyon and NoCo Rebuilding.

The Mountain Lions Club in Red Feather Lakes has funds for direct support of High Park Fire victims. Assistance is available for the purchase of food, clothing, medicine and other daily needs. If you need assistance, contact Lion Ron at 970-817-0071 or Lion Dave at 970-222-6503.

Not all the victims of the fire are humans and their pets. WOLF Sanctuary was evacuated on June 14, and has been boarding the animals at The Wildlife Sanctuary and a private property. The annual Waltz for the Wolves event will go on as scheduled on June 30, at the Drake Center, 802 W. Drake Road, Fort Collins. The evening begins at 5 p.m. with a silent auction, and features dinner, dancing with waltz lessons, a live auction and a chance to meet some ambassador animals, all for $40 before June 25, $45 after; $375 for a table of 10. For more information, go to
www.wolfsanctuary.net/88-special/88-29-2012_Waltz_01.htm

Larimer County, in partnership with Adventist Community Services Disaster Response, has opened a Donations Collection Center at Foothills Mall, 215 E. Foothills Parkway, Fort Collins, in the former Mervyn’s space. For hours and a list of items needed, go to helpcoloradonow.com.

Other ways to donate, especially your time, can be found by calling the United Way at 2-1-1. KRFC has also set up a databank of resources on its website at www.krfcfm.org.

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