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Long-Term Impacts of Fourmile Canyon Fire

September 13, 2010

BOULDER, Colo. - The effects of the Fourmile Canyon Fire outside of Boulder will linger long after the last flames are extinguished, according to Elizabeth DiPaolo, director of Disaster Response for the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter. She says Fourmile Canyon Fire victims immediately needed things like clothes or a temporary place to stay, but adds they will still have needs after the fire is out of the news.

"We forget about what happens two more weeks down the road. When people are really going to need help is in the recovery phase. A lot of community pieces go into this, when people have been displaced."

She says the recovery phase includes helping people find short-term housing options while a home is rebuilt, or transferring children to another school.

DiPaolo adds that the Red Cross can help with the long-term issues that can take a toll on people - like rental assistance or mental health support needed to cope with losing everything to the wildfire.

"The main thing is that we make sure they're not just left hung out to dry. We make sure that there's a transition plan. We're in it for the long haul, so we're involved until we have a place for every single person to go."

Another part of the Red Cross mission is to help people get in touch with state and federal disaster assistance agencies, like FEMA.

What is not needed are food and other supplies. DiPaolo says the Boulder community has been very generous in donations to help the fire's victims.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO