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Sep 5, 2013 12:09 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Black Forest Together hoping to raise awareness of continuing needs of fire survivors

Plans for recovery, unmet needs of survivors of the Black Forest Fire and plans for fundraisers were on the agenda at a meeting of non-profit group Black Forest Together on Wednesday evening.

The group formed to organize and bring the Black Forest community together in the wake of the wildfire that destroyed nearly 500 homes in June. Wednesday's meeting included putting out goals for recovery, for instance the group wants to rebuild at least 250 homes by September of 2014.

There are still quite a few obstacles, many homeowners remain displaced and haven't returned to their property. Black Forest Together is hoping many will rebuild and stay in the community, but property owners expressed that it is psychologically difficult to return to the area.

Fire prevention and clean-up are also a major focus of Black Forest together. They hope to organize volunteers to do clean-up work and encourage homeowners to do the same and perform fire mitigation.

"When the community gets together and five property owners clean-up their property and then this one guy doesn't do it or one gal doesn't do it it's going to be a lot of peer pressure to have them do it," explained Black Forest Together President Eddie Bracken.

Black Forest Together is planning future community events to raise awareness, recruit volunteers and collect money. More information can be found at www.blackforesttogether.org

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