We don’t have to tell you it’s been a long week.

The swell of information in the wake of the Marshall Fire hasn’t stopped, and neither have we. Since the destruction of Dec. 30, we’ve brought you stories about what to do if you lost your home, a countywide update on Internet outages, a look at possible damage to drinking water systems, a list of ways to donate and volunteer, reporting on the fire’s effect on Afghan refugee resettlement efforts, a dispatch from the region’s last open shelter for evacuees, and more.

In this morning’s edition of BRL Today, you’ll find an explainer on how to mitigate post-smoke problems inside your home, along with an update on businesses damaged or destroyed in the fire. We’ve also got your regular dose of essential community information — including the latest on wildfire relief, Covid-19 updates, suggestions for further reading and a whole lot more.

We hope you have a safe and restful weekend. See you Monday! 👋

– Jezy, managing editor

Nordic skiers at North Boulder Park on Jan. 6, 2022. The Boulder Nordic Club, a local nonprofit, grooms the park. Credit: John Herrick

Top Stories

Post-smoke problems are among the many concerns surrounding fallout from the Marshall Fire. Here’s how to mitigate harmful effects inside your home.

CU Boulder scientists offer helpful tips and facts related to indoor air quality after the most destructive wildfire in state history. Read the full story

Updated: A list and map of Boulder County businesses destroyed or damaged in the fire

About 35 businesses were destroyed or damaged, according to new official estimates. Costco in Superior was only minimally damaged and is set to reopen today. Read the full story

Quickly

⏱️ Expect warmer conditions today — sunny, with a high of 53.
⏱️ President Biden will tour fire damage and meet with victims today in Boulder County.
⏱️ Boil water advisories have been lifted for Superior, Louisville and Sans Souci. (The state’s notice is here.)
⏱️ Other water systems no longer under a boil advisory: East Boulder County Water District (rescinded Jan. 5), Eldorado Artesian Spring (rescinded Jan. 4).
⏱️ A mobile air monitor van from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will sample gaseous pollutants at six particulate monitoring stations in and around burn areas today (weather permitting).
⏱️ The county also is expected to set up air quality monitors. But, until that air monitoring is in place, people should assume that air quality is poor and follow precautions listed on the Boulder County Marshall Fire page
⏱️ Important: County officials recommend getting your air quality tested if you are returning to a smoke-damaged home.
⏱️ Xcel Energy says major work has been completed in restoring electric and natural gas service for the company’s more than 100,000 customers.
 ⏱️ Natural gas customers who have not yet had their pilot lights re-lit should call 1-800-895-2999 when they plan to return to their homes.
⏱️ The IRS is extending the 2021 tax-filing deadline to May 16 for people affected by the Marshall Fire.
⏱️ The BVSD website is still down after a possible ransomware attack on the district’s online communications vendor.
⏱️ All services and departments at the Costco in Superior are back open today, the company announced on its Facebook page.
⏱️ Boulder-area state legislators will host a Zoom town hall on Sunday to discuss “fires, recovery resources and the road ahead.”
⏱️ If you received a check at the Boulder County Disaster Assistance Center (DAC), you can cash it immediately at BOK Financial, no account required, at 2025 Pearl St. in Boulder.
⏱️ The DAC is offering tetanus shots, Covid-19 vaccines and flu shots today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
⏱️ The county is encouraging residents to register at the DAC for debris removal assistance.  
⏱️ The Town of Superior has uploaded video of its insurance town hall from Jan. 4. Recording available in English and Spanish.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Jan. 7, 2022

  • 382 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔺Up 130% over preceding 7-day avg.
  • 46 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 39 since July 2020.
  • 62% 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

  • Free test kit partnership rolls on. Colorado is extending its partnership with Amazon to provide free rapid at-home Covid-19 testing kits to state residents. Tests can be ordered through the CDPHE website, with delivery fulfilled by Amazon.
  • New Pfizer-BioNTech guidance. The CDC has updated recommendations for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. People ages five and up with moderately to severely weakened immune systems should receive an additional dose 28 days after their second shot. Those who received a complete series of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can now get an mRNA booster shot five months after completion. They also recommend booster shots for everyone 12 years and older.

BRL Picks

🦬 Buffs give. Going to watch CU win this weekend? The Buffs are hosting a gift card drive for fire victims during this weekend’s women’s and men’s basketball games at CU Events Center. For the rest of the season, $5 of every ticket sold will go to fire relief efforts.
🛣️ On the road again. Residents affected by the Marshall Fire can receive motor vehicle services at the Disaster Assistance Center, starting today. A mobile unit from the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles will be on hand to issue replacement driver’s licenses and state IDs.
🛍️ More shopping for fire victims. The Rayback Collective has extended its free market for people affected by the Marshall Fire through Saturday, Jan. 8. They are overwhelmed with donations, but are still accepting volunteers.
🙋 Blackbelly’s tent. Blackbelly Market is also providing prepared and packaged foods, clothing and supplies to anyone affected by the fire. Today (Friday) plus all next week it’s open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. This weekend’s hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Want to volunteer? Sign-up sheet is here.
📚 Turning the page. The Boulder Book Store is partnering with the nonprofit Impact on Education to help replace BVSD books destroyed in the Marshall Fire. “Our goal is to give every student a gift card of at least $100 to the bookstore so that they can begin rebuilding their personal libraries.”
🍲 Souper volunteers. The Front Range Soup Brigade has been live for 24 hours, and they need your help to bring hot, delicious soup to fire victims. They’re looking for cooks to respond to soup requests; a centrally located home to drop off goods; donations of crackers (especially gluten free) and soup containers; and more.

What We’re Reading

  • The things we left behind. Boulder Weekly food writer John Lehndorff reflects on the meaning of objects in an evacuation order. “Following 20 minutes of denial and a slice of microwaved deep-dish pizza, the chunky ash in the air made me move. I’m not sure why pizza seemed appropriate at that moment. I grabbed financial documents, my computer, glasses, phone, prescriptions, clothes, and an odd assortment of other necessities. It’s curious what you bring when you face the imperative: ‘Take what’s important.'” [Boulder Weekly]
  • Temporary pay bump for subs. To offer more flexibility for teachers affected by the Marshall Fire, BVSD is temporarily increasing pay for substitutes to $175 per day Monday–Thursday and $200 per day on Fridays. As John Herrick reported in November, regular daily rates for subs start at $100, which averages to about $14 per hour with no benefits and no union protections. On Dec. 13, the Boulder Reporting Lab requested information from BVSD on how many substitute teachers are in its pool and how many have received the $250 signing bonus. Despite multiple requests, the district has not provided the information. [BVSD]

ICYMI

👪 Marshall Fire stresses resettlement effort for Afghan refugees. The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history is complicating the task of finding homes for Afghan refugees in Boulder County, as thousands of newly displaced renters flood an already strained housing market overnight. What comes next for the five Afghan families slated to arrive later in January?
🏠 City Council seeks to add another emergency shelter for unhoused people in Boulder. A majority of council members said on Tuesday they want to create another shelter for people experiencing homelessness as soon as this winter. Nonprofits providing homelessness services are eager to help.

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– The BRL Team

Jezy J. Gray

Jezy Gray was the former managing editor of Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, he 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.