Officials at today’s Woodland Park Fire Update meeting devoted a significant amount of time to questions concerning the necessity and expected duration of the mandatory evacuation orders currently in effect throughout the city. While some residents complained that the evacuation seems excessive given the success of fire containment efforts in recent days, city manager David Buttery insisted that the order remains necessary.

While much of the Northwestern most section of the fire has been classified as contained, officials are still concerned about the Western front of the blaze. According to Tyler Lambert, Chief of the Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District, high temperatures, low humidity, and erratic winds generated by expected thunderstorms could possibly push the fire into the Sand Gulch area of Woodland Park in the next couple days. Due to the unpredictability that these conditions cause, and the fact that firefighters have not yet secured these areas, the city has decided to continue the mandatory evacuation until they can be absolutely certain that it is safe to return. However, Lambert expressed confidence in the readiness of his team to protect the city of Woodland Park if conditions do deteriorate.

Officials also addressed concerns of crime in evacuated areas, in response to reports of burglary in Colorado Springs evacuation zones. Buttery assured residents that there have been no reported incidents in Woodland park, adding that police are doing “constant patrols, day and night,” to ensure the protection of vacated homes.

Several residents expressed confusion regarding when and by what means they can expect to receive information about further evacuations or the downgrading of current evacuation zones to standby status. To this, Mayor Dave Turley replied, “You better believe that I’m going to be talking to the press if we can tell people to come home. We will talk with every channel there is if you can head back.” Residents can also find up to date evacuation information at inciweb.org, on the city of Woodland Park’s website, and through the reverse 911 and NIXL services. Anyone having trouble with any of the aforementioned outlets—or who is concerned about their ability to evacuate or receive current information—is encouraged to call Cindy Morse, City Clerk, at 687 5201.

Though the meeting primarily centered around specific logistical questions and reassurances regarding the unfortunate necessity of inconvenient evacuations, there was a prevailing sense of optimism about the competence of emergency teams on the ground and the quality of the Woodland park Community. In his closing remarks, Mayor Turley expressed this sentiment, “everyone should be proud of yourself. This is a great community. It is going to be important after this is behind us to come together, to make this an even greater community than it already is.”

 

Other important information:

 

The Teller County Sheriff Briefing is scheduled to take place today at 4pm (changed from its normal 7pm time), at Summit Elementary School.

 

Black Hills Utilities and Intermountain Rural Electric Association have contingency plans in place to turn off gas lines and other utilities if they are threatened by the fire. According to Dave Buttery, “Jim Ferguson of IREA tells us we are fairly secure with electricity at this time.”

 

Residents of Green Mountain Falls, Cascade, and Chapita Park seeking more information about these areas are encouraged to attend today’s briefing at Summit Elementary at 4pm. Members of these communities will likely be gathering after the briefing to share any information that they have.

 

Updated evacuation maps can be found on inciweb, as well as on the Teller County website: http://www.co.teller.co.us/

 

The brief power outage experienced in parts of Woodland Park this morning is not thought to have been related to the fire.

 

Pike’s Peak Regional Medical Facility is still open for emergencies, however all scheduled visits and procedures have been postponed until further notice.

 

For those interested in making relief donations, visit the Woodland Park city website and look for the “Pikes Peak Community Foundation.”

/Jake Brownell

 

Comments are closed.

News

AP
January 29, 2015 | NPR · In a speech at a summit of Latin American countries, President Raúl Castro said the rapprochement would not make sense otherwise.
 

AFP/Getty Images
January 29, 2015 | NPR · While the aircraft has yet to be found, the government also said it presumes all 239 people onboard are dead.
 

Getty Images
January 29, 2015 | NPR · The across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, reduced defense and domestic budgets by hundreds of millions each. Republicans are expected to fiercely defend that plan.
 

Arts & Life

January 29, 2015 | NPR · Samantha Shannon’s richly detailed followup to The Bone Season picks up with clairvoyant heroine Paige on the run after leading a revolt against the alien oppressors of her far-future England.
 

South Dakota State Historical Society
January 28, 2015 | NPR · Wilder’s memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you’d ever know from her children’s books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
 

January 28, 2015 | NPR · Robert Siegel talks to Joe Weisberg, creator of the FX television series, The Americans, about the similarities between his show and recent real-life spy-related events in New York and Argentina.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
January 29, 2015 | NPR · From Sam Smith to Meghan Trainor to Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, many of the biggest hits on today’s charts pilfer from the past, but not all borrowing works the same way.
 

John Rogers for NPR
January 29, 2015 | WBGO+JAZZ.org · The monstrously talented and astoundingly prolific tenor saxophonist returned to New York this winter to present a four-clarinet summit and a new trio with Geri Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington.
 

NPR
January 29, 2015 | WBGO+JAZZ.org · A 76-year-old jazz record label gathers its new crop into a band. Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Marcus Strickland, Lionel Loueke, Derrick Hodge and Kendrick Scott play each others’ tunes.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab