With our chilly winter season upon us, people are preparing their homes for the cold. A couple of local groups came together to help those less fortunate stay warm this season by using charred trees from the Black Forest Fire.
A group of volunteers gathered in Black Forest cutting down burned trees from the deadly 2013 fire but also trees that could potentially cause another blaze.
"There's about 8,000 acres of debris left from the Black Forest Fire that's considered flammable and dangerous and honestly a threat to the surrounding areas of Black Forest which would be Colorado Springs and El Paso County," says Lou Valencia with Aspiring Change Makers.
His group teamed up with other local organizations to repurpose 15 acres of firewood to help those in need stay warm this winter. "The people that were so grateful because they either couldn't afford it or didn't know how they were going to stay warm this winter," Valencia says, "We helped families with newborn babies, we helped disabled veterans, so I mean I am just still in awe today."
This isn't just about helping people stay warm this season, it's also about helping clear the charred trees from homeowner's property, so they don't have to relive memories from the devastating time.
One woman who asked us not to use her name says she was evacuated from her home along with thousands of others. Fortunately, her home was not destroyed but the burned trees surrounding her property were a constant reminder of the destruction and pain. "It was depressing to look at all the dead trees and all the wood on the ground that wasn't being used," she says.
Now with the help of volunteers, they have cleared out the area and are putting those trees to good use.
"It gives us a sense of closure and it's great to have all these people volunteering to help clean up the property."
Then the cut wood was loaded one by one into the back of trucks and donated to 34 families and individuals from Ellicott all the way to Fountain.
Valencia says they plan on doing this once a month until that 15 acres is cleared.
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