Wildfire sweeps across NE Colorado affecting many UMC congregations

March 13, 2017
By Brandan Robertson
Interim Communications Associate, Mountain Sky Area
On March 6, a wild fire swept across Logan County, Northeastern Colorado, destroying hundreds of acres of land, homes, and property and effecting a number of United Methodist Congregations throughout the region.
Jared and Sara Firme, son and daughter in law of Rev. Kristie Firme, Pastor of Ovid United Methodist Church in Ovid, CO, owned a farm that was destroyed by the fire. The extent of the destruction was devastating, destroying all farming equipment, over 200 calves, and the farm house. A Go Fund Me page has been created (click here to view) to help support Jared and Sara during this difficult time. Rev. Kristie Firme says that she and her family are “numb” but are committed to helping their neighbors and being with their church family on Sunday. Numerous pastors from around the area have reached out to offer the Firme family support.
Rev. Al Strauss, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Holyoke, CO was also evacuated from his home as a result of high winds spreading the wild fire through his region. The Strauss family has been working to organize food and water for local fire fighters. Similarly, Rev. Jeri Soens, pastor of Haxun United Methodist Church opened her churches doors to assist evacuees and firefighters, offering over 200 boxed lunches a day throughout the week. Members of Haxtun UMC have provided support to their families, creating a listening station for anxious town residents and gathering money, materials and supplies for their support. Rev. Soens reported,  "The land is so scorched now it's hardly recognizable.” She continued, "The miracle is that no one was killed, but a number of farmers and ranchers lost their livestock and their livelihood." Rev. Soens noted that the young people in her community have been actively engaged in helping those effected by the fire clean up and restore their homes.
Through the assistance of the Rocky Mountain Conference Emergency Response Team, UMCOR is sending 9 pallets of cleaning buckets and supplies to assist in the clean up process.  These will be handed out by local churches and other aid agencies in the community. Donations can be made to the Rocky Mountain Conference disaster response fund by clicking here. To find out how you can help with the recovery efforts, contact Skip Strickland at skip@rmcumc.com and Garry Haddock at gary.haddock@community-umc.net

Photo Credit: Joe Amon, The Denver Post