Yellow-vested Mormon Helping Hands volunteers, along with members of Pocatello, Idaho area churches, worked together to clean up after the 28 June 2012 Charlotte fire near Pocatello. Sixty-six homes were burned. The Bannock County assessor's office has calculated property loss at $7.6 million.
On Saturday, 14 July, approximately 2,000 volunteers went to work on the burned landscape, helping homeowners with whatever they needed done. An estimated 14,000 hours were donated by members of the community who used their hands, trucks, backhoes, chain saws and trailers to help give homeowners a fresh start in rebuilding.
The Mormon Helping Hands clean-up was organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).
Church Public Affairs director for Idaho, Larry Fisher, said 19 stakes (a stake is similar to a diocese) drew people and equipment from American Falls, Arimo, Blackfoot, Aberdeen, Pocatello and Chubbuck. “It was an amazing effort,” said Fisher. “Approximately 400 tons of debris was hauled to the landfill."
Fisher said the many people impacted by the devastating fire were emotional and very appreciative. “They could not believe how many volunteers showed up.”
Henry Stamm was one of those who lost his house. In thanking the volunteers for their help he said the greatest asset of this effort by the Church “is its strength in community.”
Church Welfare Services provided chain saws, fuel for the chain saws, gloves, safety glasses, shovels, bottled water and food.
Fisher also praised the Pocatello Police Department, Bannock County Sheriff and Search and Rescue and the Bannock County Planning and Zoning for their cooperation, equipment and expertise.
The Pocatello cleanup is just one of many efforts involving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Read Church Continues to Supply Aid in Western Wildfires on LDS.org.