The last 12 days have been especially tough for kids affected by wildfires in Boulder County. Our community’s youngest residents have been dealing with levels of fear, stress and uncertainty many of us couldn’t have imagined at their age — all while living through nearly two years (and counting) of a pandemic.

In today’s top story, we look at resources available for the hundreds of BVSD students who have been displaced by the Marshall Fire. We’ll walk you through the relief available for these kids who’ve been through so much: from federal benefits to free school supplies, local nonprofit support, mental health services and more.

Among our curation of need-to-know community info below, you’ll also find an essential resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to help families with children navigate this scary moment. Plus an update on where you can donate items today, more ways to support relief efforts in Boulder County, updates on the unfolding aftermath and more.

We might sound like a broken record at this point, but it’s true: Our team depends on your feedback to do this work. What do you need from us right now?

– Jezy, managing editor

A Louisville man waves to his neighbors on Jan. 7, walking down the street of his block that was destroyed by the Marshall Fire. Many residents were evaluating the damage and searching for any belongings that may have withstood the flames. Credit: Anthony Albidrez

Top Stories

Hundreds of Boulder Valley students were displaced by the Marshall Fire. Resources are available to help.

Since the Marshall Fire, BVSD says it has enrolled 787 new students in the McKinney-Vento program, which provides school resources to students without stable housing. This includes waiving fees and providing transportation for students displaced by the fire. Read the full story

UPDATED: The Marshall Fire has spurred an outpouring of giving. Here’s where you can donate and volunteer today.

Starting Jan. 11, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (BOEM) is accepting physical donations every day. Use this updated guide to donate cash, food and your own time. Read the full story

Quickly

⏱️ Partly cloudy (or partly sunny!) conditions. Highs in the upper 40s.
⏱️ Drought persists in the region, despite minor improvements, per NWS.
⏱️ Boulder County has issued new information and requirements for debris clean-up after the Marshall Fire. Here’s what you need to know about how to submit a right of entry form immediately.
⏱️ Public health officials have issued a letter to BVSD parents, guardians and teachers about air quality after the fire.
⏱️ Boulder OEM has announced the opening of a new fire donations and resource center. Be sure to check the list of current needs and items not accepted.
⏱️ The CU Discovery Toy Giveaway has extended its donation deadline through Sunday, Jan. 16.
⏱️ Today at the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Lafayette: The Colorado Passport Agency will assist fire-affected residents with documents, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
⏱️ Residential natural gas bills could rise as much as 37% over last year in the coming months. The city has compiled a few easy steps you can take to reduce your gas use this winter.
⏱️ The Centaurus High School Covid testing site will be closed all day on Friday, Jan. 14. Bookmark the county’s up-to-date list of testing sites.
⏱️ All trails at Heil Valley Ranch are closed due to muddy or hazardous conditions. Parks and Open Space officials say things will likely deteriorate over the next several days with warmer temperatures in the forecast.
⏱️ Valmont Bike Park also remains closed, with the exception of the asphalt pump track.
⏱️ More trail closures! South Boulder: Flatirons Vista, Dowdy Draw, etc.
⏱️ The City of Boulder has extended its annual application deadline for mobile vending carts to Friday, Jan. 14.
⏱️ The Community and Senior Auditors programs at CU Boulder have been canceled for Spring 2022. If you have already registered, you will receive a full refund for your enrollment. Learn more here.
⏱️ The first BVSD school board meeting of 2022 kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. Tune in on Comcast channel 22, or watch online. Check out the agenda here, and sign up for public comment (by noon) here.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Jan. 11, 2022

  • 449 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔺Up 65% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 47 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 39 since July 2020.
  • 55% percent of ICU is occupied. Down from avg. of 72% since July 2020.
  • Data: Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • CDPHE follows CDC. In accordance with new federal guidelines, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has updated the state’s recommendations regarding isolation and quarantine. According to new guidelines, people who have tested positive for Covid-19 should isolate for at least five full days — compared to the previous recommendation of 10 days. Exceptions apply. “You can stop isolating after five full full days if you tested positive, but don’t have any symptoms,” the guidelines say.
  • Text me. Starting tomorrow, CDPHE will send text message reminders to encourage Coloradans to stay up to date with their Covid-19 vaccinations. The state will send messages to people whose vaccine records in the Colorado Immunization Information System indicate they are due for a third dose (booster).
  • 1 in 4 tested in Boulder County has Covid — be extra careful! That’s the message from local health officials, who are encouraging residents to take added precautions in the face of surging case numbers. “‘With the devastating Marshall fires, Boulder County residents are struggling to withstand a disaster within a disaster,’ said Camille Rodriguez, Boulder County Public Health Executive Director. ‘The devastation caused by fires, along with the continued pandemic, highlight how important it is that we come together, show compassion and empathy and do everything we can to keep our family, friends and communities safe and healthy.'”

BRL Picks

🤕 Coping with trauma. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has put together a list of resources to help children and their families deal with what they’re experiencing in the wake of the Marshall Fire. The document includes everything from general parenting and caretaker guidelines to family activities and tips on helping younger kids and teenagers deal with traumatic grief.
🌲 NAP time. Outdoor enrichment is the name of the game at Wild Bear Nature Center in Nederland, where kids ages 5–12 can participate in the Nature Art Play (NAP) program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30–6 p.m. The initiative helps children form valuable connections with the natural world through art-making. Cost is $20 per session, with scholarships available.
📷 Photographer’s fundraiser. Wendy Cardona, the surgical RN who captured the viral photo of healthcare workers observing the early stages of the Marshall Fire at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, has launched a GoFundMe campaign for fire victims.
🚲 Relief on two wheels. Reminder: Community Cycles is offering free used bikes to people affected by the Marshall Fire. These bicycles are best suited for everyday transportation needs. To apply for a bike (or donate one) click here.
🧑‍🌾 Saving the farm. The state and national departments of agriculture are teaming up for a free webinar to answer questions about resources available for agricultural businesses affected by the Marshall Fire. The virtual town hall kicks off today at 1:30 p.m. Register here.
🗣️ Language of care. Boulder County needs volunteers to act as cultural brokers for people whose first language is not English as they navigate the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) in Lafayette. Help is especially needed for communities that speak Spanish, Chinese, Nepali, Hmong and Hindi. Email or text/call 303-579-8253 to help.

What We’re Reading

  • The Marshall Fire and the climate emergency. “This firestorm swept through Superior, Louisville, and parts of unincorporated Boulder County, leaving a path of destruction as it picked up speed, and, although the exact cause of ignition is still being investigated, this much is clear: this fire was able to intensify and spread because of conditions created by the climate crisis.” [Boulder County]
  • When will Covid be “normal”? Federal health officials and experts are considering new ways to respond to Omicron, the Covid-19 variant shattering daily case count records across the country, state and in Boulder County, while keeping the economy chugging and not overwhelming hospitals. “The impact on society should be measured not on how many people are blowing their nose but on how many people are really getting sick,” said Anthony Fauci. [The New Yorker]
  • The Shrestha family loses their home. Probin Shrestha’s parents immigrated from Nepal to the U.S. when he was 10, purchasing their first home in Superior more than 23 years ago. It was one of more than a thousand that went up in flames during the Marshall Fire. Shrestha shares his family’s harrowing experience with KGNU’s Rossana Longo-Better, offering some valuable parting thoughts: “There are plenty of resources out there. Support each other. That’s probably the first step in the healing process after the devastating tragedy that we’re all facing.” [KGNU]

ICYMI

🏛️ How will the Marshall Fire shape Colorado law? Recovery is top of mind for Boulder’s delegation of state lawmakers as it gears up for the 2022 legislation session, which begins tomorrow. We look at possible new policies regarding home insurance, climate change, affordable housing and more.
🚨 Who got emergency alerts for the Marshall Fire? Some people who were eligible to receive emergency alerts didn’t get them, because they weren’t registered. The question becomes: Why is Boulder County not using a system that ensures mass communication, like Denver does? 
🎭 Six arts events to mark on your calendar for 2022. From the stage to the page, and points in between, here’s your round-up of some of the can’t-miss cultural events coming to Boulder in the new year.

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Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.