Efforts to support Backbone Fire evacuees with #StrawberryStrong

Backbone Fire
Posted at 5:03 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 21:34:46-04

More than 4,000 people are evacuated from Strawberry and Pine because of the Backbone Fire but there is no timeline yet on when residents can return home, according to Gila County emergency management officials.

Parts of Gila County are seeing rain in the mountain towns of Strawberry and Pine, but fire officials say the storms won’t produce much precipitation.

Fire officials posted Wednesday morning that the storms expected could bring gusty and erratic winds from outflow.

Those who live and work in Strawberry have been evacuated for nearly a week as they wait for word if or when they can return.

Video shared with ABC15 shows the rain falling in Strawberry outside The Strawberry Inn.

Rain falling outside The Strawberry Inn

Katie Parks tells ABC15 she has been evacuated from her home in Strawberry, but is staying at her bar, the Bandits Restaurant & The Dirty Cowboy Saloon which is on the other side of the highway.

“We should be packed right now, I mean completely packed, so the impact financially is going to be really devastating to this community, especially if this lasts another week or so,” said Parks.

Parks had a restaurant of food that she didn’t want to go to waste so she’s been working on feeding firefighters who are working on the Backbone Fire.

After a year of COVID-19, and a hit to small businesses and employees, Parks said the hope was for a busy summer season to make up for the loses.

There is a social media crowdsourcing campaign to help those employees — the goal is to raise $25,000 which would be $1,000 for about 25 employees.

“We have a GoFundMe account and it’s not for the businesses, it is for the businesses employees, it’ll get divided up evenly between all the restaurant employees,” said Parks.

The fundraiser is with the theme of #StrawberryStrong.

The Strawberry Inn is also trying to raise money for the small community by posting a fundraiser on their website that says, “here is a way to help — we are working on other things but right now this is the fastest way we could help…”

The post goes on to say that they have set up so that all their merchandise sales will go towards helping support the businesses and the community in Pine-Strawberry.

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