In September of 2010, the Fourmile Fire blazed through the mountains miles from my home in Boulder. It became the most destructive fire in Colorado's history. That record held until the summer of 2012 when the High Park Fire in Fort Collins claimed more damage, followed by the Waldo Canyon Fire weeks later in Colorado Springs. This year, the Black Forest Fire again in Colorado Springs was even more destructive.
When the Fourmile Fire broke out, I, like so many Boulderites, followed the fire news relentlessly. There were so many ways to help out locally, from donating to victims who lost homes, to volunteering to feed firefighters between shifts. I wanted to do something to help, but something personal that could make a difference.
I created the Fourmile Fire poster thanking firefighters on behalf of Boulder. When I posted it to Twitter and Facebook, it spread through social media like... well, you know. The response was so great, people started asking where they could buy it. People wanted to send them to firefighters. I quickly put it up for sale saying that all profits would be donated to local firefighters.
With the help of other selfless volunteers to spread the word, the effort became a local movement. Posters were distributed free to businesses to hang in their front windows. Banners were made to line the streets of downtown Boulder. We even held a parade of firefighters marching through crowds of people thanking them for saving our mountains. Tears were shed. In the end, I raised over $11,000.
Last year was a devastating year for Colorado with the two worst fires in state history. At the time, I was working for Card Gnome, a greeting card company. When the fire season turned serious, we as a company decided to help. I created three more artworks, one for the High Park Fire in Fort Collins, and one for the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. I also created a general "Colorado" one that wasn't specific to a location.
We put the images on greeting cards of which people could mail to firefighters from the internet. We also sold posters. I believe we donated about $4,000 between multiple cities.