Shelters Open for Military Families Affected by Colorado Fire
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2013 Two installations have set up overnight shelters for military families affected by the Black Forest fire in Colorado Springs, Colo., while another has opened an emergency center for family assistance.
The Army’s Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base in the southern Colorado Springs area opened their shelters earlier this week to accommodate military families, Defense Department civilians and other authorized common access card users, officials said.
Fort Carson is accepting families that have evacuated their homes because of the Black Forest and Royal Gorge fires burning at opposite ends of the metropolitan area, Fort Carson spokesman Army Staff Sgt. William Waller said.
Up to 100 people can be accommodated overnight at Fort Carson’s youth services center in Building 5950, and the center is open every day, around the clock. For more information, families can call 19-526-2794. Shuttles will transport people from the shelters to food courts and a place to shower on post, Waller added.
Carson’s shelter permits family pets, but owners must supply kennels, food and dishes for them. Military families with horses and other livestock can take their animals to one of several fairgrounds and stables.
Officials said families who need a place for livestock can contact these local resources:
-- Elbert County Fairgrounds, 95 Ute Ave., Kiowa, Call: 303-621-3152
-- El Paso County Fairgrounds, 366 10th St., Calhan, Call: 719-520-7880; and
-- Adams County Fairgrounds, 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton, Call: 303-637-8000.
At Peterson Air Force Base, the emergency evacuation center also accepts evacuees from both fires at its fitness and sports center in Building 560 on the base, which also is open 24 hours a day. Evacuees should first check in at the Peterson Personnel Support for Contingency Operations Team, which operates the shelter, at the lodging office in Building 1042, Peterson officials said.
The Peterson shelter also can accommodate 100 people, and is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. While Peterson’s shelter cannot accept pets, it offers a list of base personnel who will provide temporary shelter for them. Other places to shelter pets on a temporary basis can be found at the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region website, http://www.hsppr.org/blackforestfire.
The Peterson shelter is open to all personnel with base access who have evacuated their homes because of the fire, regardless of their state-mandated evacuation status, Peterson officials said.
The base’s facility provides cots, linens and showers to evacuated military families. Personal weapons are not permitted, officials said.
Donations are accepted for the Peterson shelter through the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, at 719-528-1247
Peterson also established an emergency family assistance center in Building 350, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. The center is similar to the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Emergency Family Assistance Control Center.
The academy, in northern Colorado Springs, offers families and DOD civilians access to its center, which is a staging area where military families can get assistance, information and contingency services because of “a significant catastrophic event,” said Jodie W. Rhone, the center’s coordinator.
The academy’s center is in the Airman and Family Readiness Center in Building 6248 on West Pine Loop on the academy grounds. Services provided through the center include legal, mental health, chaplain, Air Force Aid Society -- also known as emergency financial assistance -- and casualty and finance.
The academy’s center also offers its Discovery Center to military families, where they can use computers and printers, officials at the academy said. The center is open to all DOD identification card holders. Families affected by the fire can contact the center at 1-800-379-1455. It is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
While the academy does not offer a shelter for military families, officials said, it had sheltered 13 evacuees from the fire in base lodging, 55 campers in its camping area, and 14 horses in the academy’s stables as of yesterday.