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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Finding Shelter on the Other Side of the Globe

By Molly Cape

Christine and Kevin Patterson
When Kevin and Christine Patterson left New Zealand for a 6-month trip in the United States, they never imagined that they would have ended up in a Red Cross shelter. However, that is exactly what happened to them after the Cold Springs fire forced them to evacuate from the Upper Dream Canyon Campground. After starting their journey in California, they made their way to the campground outside of Nederland. They were drawn by stories of the amazing rock climbing, and they say is “the best in North America.”

When the Cold Springs fire first started, the Pattersons found themselves waking up at night smelling smoke. “We would lie awake at night thinking that this could get very interesting,” said Kevin. After a day of adventure, they were heading back to the campground when they found that the local authorities had blocked off the road leading back to their campsite. They were allowed to quickly gather their belongings. Then, the police directed them to the Red Cross shelter in the East Recreation Center in Boulder. As the Red Cross is an international humanitarian organization, they were familiar with it.

“We are glad that the Red Cross had a shelter for those of us even just traveling through. We were offered food as well as a place to sleep and shower,” said Christine. Kevin and Christine plan to continue traveling through the United States just as they have each year for the past five years. They both said  that this is not the first time they have encountered a unique situation. “We ran across a grizzly bear in Alaska and a landslide in Canada, so we have had a couple of near misses to go along with this wildfire escape in Colorado,” said Kevin.

The East Boulder Shelter housed six individuals the night the Pattersons arrived. All clients received three meals per day, a safe place to sleep, and facilities to take a shower. Campers from Dallas displaced by the fire were also housed at the shelter. In Colorado, natural disasters don’t only displace those who have a permanent residence. 

How You Can HelpT
he best way to help is to donate to the American Red Cross at redcross.org/donate (1-800-REDCROSS), or to a local charity that is providing support for the wildfire response. Please be careful when donating to unknown charities. Check with the Better Business Bureau before donating.

Fire Information
U.S. Forest Service Fire Incident site http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
Boulder County Emergency Management - http://www.boulderoem.com/

Wildfire Evacuation Tips
Download the Red Cross EMERGENCY app from your favorite provider or from www.redcross.org/apps
Review wildfire and evacuation tips at www.redcross.org/prepare

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