UCCS to provide respite housing for firefighters

Susan Szpyrka, (719) 255-3210, sszpyrka@uccs.edu Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, thutton@uccs.edu Jane Zook, (719) 385-7366, jzook@springsgov.com

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of Colorado Colorado Springs will provide housing for up to 100 wildland firefighters completing their shifts combatting the Waldo Canyon Fire beginning Friday night.

UCCS will provide dormitory-style space for the firefighters in the university’s Summit Village complex.

“We are pleased to provide this space to the heroes of this community,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “We recognize the sacrifice that many have made to help our community in its time of need. This is a way the university can say thank you.”

Many of the wildland firefighters are part of a multi-agency response to the Waldo Canyon Fire and are from communities outside of Colorado Springs. As a result, many cannot return to their personal homes and do not have places to stay locally.

UCCS will provide the firefighters with space in Summit Village complete with housekeeping services, refrigerators and access to Internet and television in common areas. Care and Share will provide them with donated toiletry articles, food, and other services.

At the peak of the Waldo Canyon Fire evacuations, UCCS housed more than 350 evacuees including 200 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets. The cadets are expected to return to the USAFA late Friday afternoon and many evacuees were allowed to return to homes on the west side of Colorado Springs Thursday night. More evacuation orders are expected to be lifted Friday.

UCCS provided Colorado Springs residents evacuated from their homes with three nights housing at no charge. Individuals who need housing for more than three nights will pay reduced rates for up to a one week additional stay.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 9,300 students annually. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.