Effects of Colorado wildfires are felt in Western Washington



As wildfires continue to burn through wide swaths of Colorado, Western Washington residents mobilized to help and worried about loved ones who might end up in harm’s way.

A Red Cross volunteer took off from Sea-Tac Airport on Friday evening to assist in the response effort. When KIRO 7 put out a note on its Facebook account earlier in the afternoon asking if anyone had friends or family in the fires’ paths, we quickly got a response from an Auburn woman.

“It’s terrifying,” Anna Choate said.

She couldn’t help but worry about her best friend, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs.

“You don’t know if that fire is going to jump the containment even more and then come down, and she’ll be evacuated,” Choate said.

Stephanie was OK when KIRO 7’s Chris Legeros talked to her by phone Friday afternoon, but she has asthma and she said the smoke is making it hard to breathe.

Choate said she’s also worrying about her great aunt and uncle, who live near Fort Collins.

“We know they’re safe, but we don’t know about their house,” she said.

Washington state sent an interagency team of 50 firefighters to Colorado on Thursday. When we called the commander, he said he was still a few hundred miles from his assignment near Grand Junction.

“The fire is threatening the community. It’s threatening close to Interstate 70, jumping rivers, and railroad tracks and that kind of stuff,” commander Mark Thibo said.

The U.S. Forest Service has sent 52 people from Washington state. Half a dozen are headed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord to Fort Carson to fill the shoes of firefighters normally stationed there who are now fighting wildfires.

“Right now, firefighters there are doing multiple shifts without relief,” Capt. Glenn Rex said. “It’s well worth it in helping brothers and sisters in the fire service.”

The Red Cross, meanwhile, has sent 15 disaster relief volunteers from our state.