by Pam Zubeck
We just got confirmation from Gov. John Hickenlooper's office that $8 million was originally set aside for the Black Forest Fire in an executive order issued on Wednesday, June 12. Because the Disaster Emergency Fund was short on funds at that time, Hickenlooper ordered that $5.5 million be transferred from the state's general fund.
In addition the governor has requested assistance under the Fire Management Assistance Grant program. That request was submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 5:10 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, and was approved at 8:50 p.m.
Also included in the executive order was allocation of $195,000 for recovery related to the disaster. "These funds may be used to pay for disaster recovery resources as approved by the Director of the Office of Emergency Management to assist with state and local government costs incurred during and as a result of the current disaster emergency, including costs incurred by non-profit organization on behalf of local government entities."
The governor's spokesman, Eric Brown, also tells us via e-mail, "We made verbal authorization yesterday for an additional $2M. A new executive order with the new amount to be signed this week."
————— ORIGINAL POST, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 12:15 P.M. —————
The Black Forest Fire remained 85 percent contained this morning as the price of fighting it rose to $8.5 million. The fire has destroyed 509 homes, but El Paso County Assessor's Office personnel are still working the burn area, so that number could go up.
Sheriff Terry Maketa is gradually opening up more burned areas to residents. Last night, when Cathedral Pines residents were admitted, firefighters lined up their trucks and turned on the red lights as a welcoming gesture and a way to thank the residents for their appreciation, Incident Commander Rich Harvey said.
For those looking for an opportunity to help, the county issued this release this morning:
El Paso County is partnering with HELPCOLORADONOW.ORG to make it easier for volunteers to register and offer their assistance to the residents impacted by the Black Forest Fire.
“We have received an overwhelming outpouring of support from our community,” said El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who represents the Black Forest area. “People want to help and we want you to know that this is a long term process of recovery and that your assistance will be needed for a long time.”
El Paso County has received more offers of help from volunteers than it can efficiently use right now, but through the partnership with HELPCOLORADONOW.ORG the who want to help will be registered with important contact information as well as skills and schedule availability.
“Together we can make the most of this tremendous outpouring from our community, added Commissioner Glenn.”
Through HELPCOLORADONOW.ORG volunteers can also register to support the ongoing needs for flash flood risk mitigation efforts in the area of last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire. Volunteers are asked to fill out the comment section noting your skills, your availability for scheduling and your willingness to work on flash flooding mitigation with the Coalition For the Upper South Platte.
For the residents who have already sent an email to the County’s firstname.lastname@example.org to register as a volunteer, their information will be given to HELPCOLORADONOW.ORG. If your information is incomplete, HELPCOLORADONOW.ORG will be contacting you directly.
For more information on El Paso County’s assistance efforts go to www.BFFassistance.com and follow the link to www.helpColoradoNOW.org