After the collapse of Mongolia’s  Soviet-supported economy in 1990 it was economically devastated. In 1992,  Flagstaff-based photojournalist, David Edwards, began photographing in Mongolian. In 1993, Edwards began hand-carrying duffel bags of donated winter clothing from Flagstaff, and personally placed aid into the hands of those who needed it most, without middlemen, especially focused on orphanages and street children. In 1997, Edwards, Dianne Hasenbank and a group of Flagstaff residents founded the Mongolian Orphans Association. In 1999, Flagstaff volunteers distributed a 40-foot sea container of aid hand-to-hand throughout Mongolia. The name was changed to FIRE – Flagstaff International Relief Effort – in 2000. After a second distribution trip in 2000, FIRE took a short break to restructure. In 2003, Meredith Potts, Edwards’ photography business manager, stepped in as Executive Director, resuming FIRE’s aid distribution trips. In 2005, medical mission trips were added in conjunction with the winter clothing distribution trips, providing training and medical supplies.