FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Fort Carson opened its doors June 26 to displaced service members and families forced to flee their homes due to the danger posed by the out-of-control Waldo Canyon wildfire.
At the Fort Carson Special Events Center, Soldiers and civilian volunteers are in-processing evacuees from Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy and working to find them places to stay until the fire is contained.
"Soldiers and civilian volunteers are making sure these evacuees are as comfortable as possible," said Maj. John Price, administrative officer with the 43rd Sustainment Brigade who is tasked to operate the control point for displaced service members and families arriving at Fort Carson. "We have had a little less than 50 people show up so far, but we are prepared to house as many as 1,600."
Currently, three locations are open to evacuees: the special events center is available to most evacuees; displaced people with pets can stay at the Fort Carson Youth Center and those with special needs can stay at the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Battalion barracks.
"Our Soldiers and volunteers are doing a great job out here," said Price. "The United Services Organization has set up care packages; we have provided food and are currently working to get computers with internet installed in the SEC."
Fort Carson personnel are also providing basic medical assistance and emergency services along with bus transportation around post, and parking lots for car, boat and trailer storage.
"I feel it is a privilege and a duty to help these people," said Sherri Riley, a United Services Campaign volunteer. "We don't have that many guests yet, but we could get hundreds more before they put out this fire and are all able to return home. We want to make sure they have everything they need from deodorant to ways to keep their children occupied."
Clothing, food and other donations are welcome and can be dropped off at The Hub on post 24 hours a day according to Riley.
By providing aid to wildfire victims, the Fort Carson team demonstrates the value it places on the Colorado Spring community as a whole, said Staff Sgt. Melissa Smith, a health care specialist with the brigade.
"It doesn't matter if we only help one person or 1,000; we're here to care for people in this community," Smith said.
(Pfc. Andrew Ingram serves with 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs.)