While not in the danger zone of the Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado College played an important role in feeding and housing evacuees, providing expertise for media interviews, and raising funds for victims in this historic, devastating fire.
The Waldo Canyon Fire, which started on June 23 in the Pike National Forest several miles outside of the city of Colorado Springs, claimed two lives, destroyed 346 homes, and burned more than 18,000 acres before it was contained on July 10.
Colorado College invited any employees or students and their families, as well as pets, who were evacuated as a result of the fire to stay on campus in residence halls or apartments. Approximately 81 people who were evacuated stayed at the college temporarily. The college also provided free meals at Rastall Dining Hall for evacuees and invited them to cool off in Schlessman Pool or Tutt Library. Temperatures topped 100 degrees in Colorado Springs during the height of the fire.
Radio Colorado College: KRCC, along with other local media and nonprofits, helped organize “A Community Rises” benefit concert at the World Arena, which has raised more than $500,000 for the Waldo Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund. KRCC reported on the fire on-air and on its website, http://radiocoloradocollege.org/ where you can read stories about the Waldo Canyon Fire.
CC employees helped raise $2,900 for the Red Cross fire relief efforts and The Press at CC created and sold letterpress posters printed with an original design of the fire perimeter map; proceeds were donated to local charities helping people displaced by the fire.
Hani Ahmad, a counselor at CC’s Counseling Center, lost his home of 20 years in the fire. He allowed reporters from The Climate Desk to show his return to his burned home; the interview ran on KRCC, Mother Jones, and PBS websites. CC Biology Professor Jim Ebersole also was interviewed for a piece on climate change and fire in the West.