7everyday hero: wildfire relief raises $220k

7news hosts live fundraiser for victims of fires

DENVER - Wildfires in Colorado have burned more than 244,000 acres, destroyed more than 653 homes and taken six lives this year.

That's why 7NEWS teamed up with other Denver TV stations to broadcast a fundraiser for wildfire victims on Wednesday, July 11, from 4 to 8 p.m.

Broadcasters helped raise $220,000 for the Red Cross and firefighters. $10,000 of that amount was donated by the Scripps, the parent company of Channel 7.

You can specify that the money be given to either the Colorado chapter of the American Red Cross or the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Foundation. Donations are tax deductible.

The need is huge.

The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history -- the Waldo Canyon Fire -- burned more than 18,000 acres and destroyed 346 homes.

At one point 32,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and two people lost their lives.

Colorado's other big fires include the High Park Fire, which burned more than 87,000 acres, destroyed 259 homes and killed one person, and the Lower North Fork Fire, which destroyed 22 homes and killed three people.

Economists have estimated property damage for the Waldo Canyon Fire will be well in excess of $110 million. But Fred Crowley, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, says the economic impact will be "millions upon millions of dollars."

To make matters worse, burglars stole items from homes of evacuated residents during the Waldo Canyon Fire. Authorities said they have had at least 22 burglary reports in the fire zone. There are also 60 reports of evacuees' cars being broken into while they were staying at nearby hotels.

When evacuation orders for the Mountain Shadows subdivision were finally lifted, residents literally had nothing to go home to.

"It looks like a bomb dropped on our neighborhood," Sheila Castillo told 7NEWS at the time. "Each lot has an individual pile or hole filled with nothing but with ash, metal, debris, poles,"

Yet through all the destruction, Coloradans have stepped up to help through bake sales, donations to the Red Cross and firefighters, and creative fundraisers. For more information visit, http://communitydoesnotburndown.com/.

One Colorado Springs resident even came up with a "Community Does Not Burn" T-shirt and is donating proceeds from the sales.

Join 7NEWS and be a 7Everyday Hero to help people affected by the Colorado wildfires.