Denver7 Gives fund donates $5,000 to Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department for wildfire efforts

Posted at 9:27 PM, Oct 29, 2020

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BELLVUE, Colo. -- Fire departments around the state are working tirelessly to put out the many Colorado wildfires burning this fall. Among the departments is the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.

Taylor Clifton is one of the newest additions to the Rist County Volunteer Fire Department. As the Cameron Peak Fire was forcing people away, Clifton ran towards the flames, joining the department in mid-October.

"What came through was a 2,000° freight train," Clifton said of the Cameron Peak Fire.

That freight train made a stop at Clifton's home.

"The fire was moving so quickly there is nothing we could do to get into my neighborhood, so at that time we just focused on trying to protect everything around it," Clifton said.

Clifton's home, automobiles, and tools were turned to ash.

"I don’t know where to go. It’s taken my home, it’s taken my business, it’s taken everything," said Clifton, who works full time as a general contractor.

While dealing with the loss, Clifton and the rest of his fellow firefighters kept fighting.

"They are tired, ragged, our trucks are breaking down. We still ask them, 'can you go out again tomorrow?' Everybody jumps up," said Rist Canyon Fire Chief Jeff Elsner.

Elsner says the efforts have taken a toll not just on the crew but also the equipment. As a volunteer fire department, most of the resources used for the wildfires came out of their own limited funds.

"If we burned up a hose it was our own hose that burned up," Elsner said.

When Denver7 heard about their efforts, we donated $5,000 for the department through the Denver7 Gives wildfire relief efforts fund.

The department and Clifton, who lost everything in the fire, could use your help.

Click here if you'd like to donate to the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department.

Click here if you'd like to donate to Clifton's GoFundMe page.

Denver7 Gives has started a new fundraising campaign for victims of Colorado's wildfires. To donate, go here and then look for "Help Colorado Wildfire Victims" in the dropdown. We are working with our community partners up and down the Front Range to ensure every dollar raised stays in Colorado and helps families who've lost so much.