Black Forest evacuees find comfort in Walmart parking lots

Store attracts residents evacuated from wildfire

Walmart Becomes Popular Hang-out For Fire Evacuees

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Black Forest residents consider themselves a family, and the current wildfire has taught them that family ties exist beyond town limits.

Overnight on Tuesday, an estimated 100 recreational vehicles, campers and trailers evacuated to the Walmart parking lot in Falcon.  The store is near the fire area.  The store has always welcomed camping vehicles.

Alex Hood came with his wife, five kids, three dogs and two cats.  During what could easily be a stressful time for them, the family appeared upbeat.

"I've got a good group of kids here, a good wife," said Hood.  "We've got a pretty good plan put in place.  We had all of our important stuff in the right locations."

Stu Nuffer learned about the fire as many others did.

"(While) at work, got a phone call from the wife to say come home very quickly -- which I didn't listen to very well," he said.  "I figured the fire guys would be able to get there pretty easily.  I was obviously wrong."

Nuffer said he was caught in a roadblock, so his brother and nephew, who were already at his house, packed up everything for evacuating.

The Walmart parking lot in Falcon attracted people eager to help evacuees.  Two men from the Soaring Eagle Ranch in Calhan decided on Tuesday to provide free shelter for horses and cattle.

Hood says he doesn't need help but appreciates the offer.
"Some guy just walked up and gave us $50 on a Walmart card, a few minutes ago," he said.  "We cannot believe what people are doing out here."
The Walmart at Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road  also was a popular place Wednesday for evacuees.  Residents said they plan to stay camped in the parking lots until they're allowed to return home.        

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