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Pierre native receiving support from community after wildfire

The Nielsen family was on vacation in Florida with their three children when they learned their neighborhood in Louisville, Colorado was part of the wildfires t
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Nielsen family was on vacation in Florida with their three children when they learned their neighborhood in Louisville, Colorado was part of the wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes Thursday evening.

“They had a live shot of the police station, which is right down the road, about 500 yards, from our house, and you could see it in the background that the ridge-line over was already engulfed,” said Heikke Nielsen.

After communicating with neighbors, the Nielsens learned their home was one of the thousands destroyed by the fire. Jolene Nielsen grew up in Pierre, and while her and Heikke rushed back to Colorado to assess the damage, they sent their three young girls to stay with her family back in South Dakota.

”I just wanted to say thank you to everyone in Pierre whose set up play dates for our kids, and they provided them all their clothes. They got on the plane with no coat or anything because we were in Florida. They’ve given them shoes, and just everything. We’re so grateful to all of you,” said Jolene.

The Nielsens plan to visit the remains of their house this week to see if any of their items can be recovered. As for now, they’re staying with friends while they make plans to move forward.

”Our intention is to rebuild in that area. I mean, the girls grew up there. That’s the only home that they’ve known. Just because something bad happened to the neighborhood, doesn’t necessarily define it as the long-term answer,” said Heikke.

Luckily, everyone in the Nielsen’s neighborhood evacuated safely.

The Nielsens have set up a Go Fund Me page for those wishing to support them.

Read below to find ways to support families who were affected by the wildfires:

Colorado Responds Volunteering

Airbnb Open Homes Program

Boulder Office of Emergency Management

Community Foundation of Boulder County

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