Wildfires in the Western United States
Extreme drought conditions and hot temperatures
In 2012, more than half of the United States has experienced drought conditions, which is the largest percentage recorded in the 12 years the U.S. Drought Monitor has been in operation. In fact, wildfires have devastated nearly 7 million acres so far this year.
Latest updates and efforts
Many Habitat for Humanity affiliates have seen the impact of these fires increase the need for affordable housing and they are working with their communities to help. You can make a donation or volunteer with these affiliates by contacting them via the links provided below.
- Bastrop County Fire, Bastrop, Texas
The most destructive single wildfire in the history of the state of Texas began burning east of Bastrop during Labor Day weekend 2011. Lasting until October, the fire killed two people and destroyed more than 1,600 homes, of which 37 percent were not covered by insurance. Austin Habitat for Humanity, located approximately 30 miles west of Bastrop, has been actively involved in community recovery efforts and assisting wildfire survivors through budget counseling, financial education and proceeds from the Habitat ReStore. Contact Austin Habitat for Humanity.
- High Park Fire, Fort Collins, Colo.
In June 2012, lightning caused a fire that engulfed 259 homes in the canyons near Fort Collins, Colo. The fire devastated families and negatively impacted Colorado’s tourism industry. Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity is working with other nonprofit and governmental agencies to assess immediate and long-term needs. Volunteers and donations will be needed in the near future to aid rebuilding efforts. Contact Fort Collins Habitat for Humanity.
- Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs, Colo.
In late June of 2012, the Waldo Canyon fire led to the evacuation of more than 32,000 residents in the Colorado Springs area. While eventually contained on July 10, this fire claimed 346 homes and has now been deemed the most destructive fire in Colorado state history. Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity is providing assistance to wildfire survivors through its Habitat ReStore, as well as working with other faith-based and community organizations to assist with long-term needs. Contact Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity.
- Cleveland County Fires, Norman, Okla.
Throughout August 2012, a number of fires have led to 9,000 acres of burnt land and the loss of 91 homes in Cleveland County alone. Additional fires throughout Oklahoma have resulted in the loss of more homes. State officials have estimated that 85 percent of the homes damaged or destroyed in Oklahoma so far this year were not insured. Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity is actively working with the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster to identify families needing assistance with rebuilding. Contact Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity.
- Taylor Bridge Fire, Cle Elum, Wash.
The Taylor Bridge Fire in Cle Elum has destroyed 51 homes to date. Washington state remains at high risk due to additional smaller fires in other parts of the state. Currently, Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity is assessing the needs of families impacted by the fire. Contact Kittitas County Habitat for Humanity.