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Text Summary below.
Summary of Press Briefing @4pm
Jerri Marr, USFS: “Acreage of the fire is 15,324. We won’t have an accurate count of acres involved until an infrared flight tonight. How are we using the military/why aren’t we using military? We are…on dozer lines. They’ve had conversations with General Jacoby about additional services.”
Steve Cox, Mayor’s Office vice chair of executive team: “My job mandate from the Mayor is to look at the property assessment issue. We’ve started the assessment of burned homes, but have no numbers today. The process of assessment is to notify citizens in a way that is sensitive and compassionate, identify burned homes, and meeting with folks who have a loss. This is a grieving process. In the next 24 hours we hope to have more numbers of people impacted.”
Rich Brown, Fire Chief CSFD: “There have been properties affected by the fire. Conditions have been erratic. There have been firefighters in Mt. Shadows since 4-5pm yesterday. We’re aggressively, offensively attacking the fire. The reason we’re slow to assess damage is because we’re still fighting an active fire. The city and county services are operating and you’ll be provided for and taken care of. There are some open gas mains in Mt. Shadows. The area is not safe enough to assess.”
Pete Carry, Police Chief CSPD: “Number one concern is safety and security. We’ve received help from Fountain, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Dept. of Corrections, Drug Enforcement Adminstration, FBI, Aurora Police Department, Pueblo Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Colorado State Patrol. The plan for notification [of people whose homes have burned] ensures fairness, dignity and respect. Process of notification will take at least several days. A request to media: allow the process to work as respectfully as possible for the families and individuals affected by the fire. In other words, please give us privacy and consideration as we notify people. We’re committed to sharing as much information as we can once the process in complete.”
Rich Harvey, Incident Commander: “I hate the wind! The wind is picking up and causing problems. We are getting the resources that we need from so many different sources. The map shown is a progression map. (See photo above.) Here’s where the fire was on the 23rd, on the 24th it moved south, on the 25th it moved north, and on the 26th it moved east. Wind is a big factor, the reason it is difficult to fight. Today: good progress and hold along highway 24. There is one hotspot area of concern. It is hard to get to, so we’re hitting it with lots of air support. If they can sure up the hotspot, they’ll feel pretty comfortable about the southeastern edge of the fire. In the Sand Gulch area they’re working on dozer lines from Highway 24 to Rampart Range Road. Crews are working on dozer lines by widening them and removing brush and fallen trees. At the top of the fire: holding along Rampart Range Road and Powerline Road. Working to improve Powerline Road… improving it, strengthening it and armoring it. Fire is moving up and around Blodgett Peak. Fire is threatening repeater site around Stanley. They’re concerned about the repeater site. Helicopters are working that spot. It’s a major concern at this time. Other places of concern, the wind is pushing the fire back into Colorado Springs, just north of where it hit yesterday. They’re well aware of it and have a lot of troops stationed in that area. No report of structures involved at this time. They’re waiting for it [the fire], and pursuing the fire into the wild land interface.
Brett Water, Emergency Management Director: “Update… no more mandatory evacuations. However, there have been pre-evacuations today in Holland Park and Pleasant Valley. Shelters are still open at Lewis Palmer in Monument, Cheyenne Mountain HS, Southeast YMCA, also insurance agencies are ready to get in and work with homeowners. You can get the Joint Information Numbers at springsgov.com.
Jerri Marr, USFS: “There have been lots of calls into the JIC. Questions about utilities and Country Services. The next two people will address those questions.”
Jerry Forte, CEO Colorado Springs Utilities: “Colorado Springs Utilities supporting Incident Command with people, assets and water. Focus is to protect utility assets and continue serving the community. As a safety precaution, natural gas remains off in evacuation areas as directed by Incident Command. Electricity is on for all except about 800 customers in Mt. Shadows. Focus is to keep electricity on for pumping water. Water system is serving all customers at this time. Water quality is not an issue at this time. Please conserve water!”
Amy Lathen, Chair of El Paso County Commissioners: “Here is a recap of county services status. Some services are setup at remote locations. Their Citizen Center on Garden of the Gods is closed due to the evacuation. Services that have been moved:
• Dept of Human Services: Economic services, including food assistance services is at 17 North Spruce in the old DHS building
• Child and Adult Protective Services: case workers using remote locations.
• Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 719-444-5700 and Adult Abuse and Intake line at 719-444-5755 are staffed and taking calls as usual.
• Public Health at 719-578-3199 will be staffed for questions about birth & death certificates, clinics and immunizations.
• WIC (Women & Infant Children), staff offering food vouchers only for clients in need of infant formula/special formula that usually have appointments at Citizen Service Center. Alternate location for WIC clients is at the southeast part of the county at 97 Widefield Blvd. in Widefield. Call 719-578-3199 for information.
• Pikes Peak Workforce Center: basic processing for unemployment insurance will be available at Pikes Peak Workforce Center at the Loraine Center at 301 E. Iowa in Fountain. 719-444-8311.
• County Assessor: online as usual.
• Treasurer: Delinquent June tax payments accepted when Citizen Service Center re-opens.
• County Recorder: all services at three other locations: Southeast at Airport and Powers, Union Town Cetner at 8830 N. Union and Centennial Hall, 200 South Cascade. Clerk expects to complete the processing of the relatively few uncounted ballets from yesterday’s election.”
Air operations are still active as of 4:15pm. Fire crews were engaged in Mt. Shadows all night long… 24/7 presence. A combination of structure and wild land firefighters are in the mix of people fighting the fires. So far 31,000 evacuees. About 3000 evacuated from Crystola.