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Update: 6:30 PM. Containment at 80%. 18,247 acres.
Press briefing summary 8am, UCCS
Greg Huele, Public Information Officer Waldo Canyon Fire: “There will be five speakers today. Steve Cox, Mayor Bach’s Executive Team; Mark Snyder, Mayor of Manitou Springs; Rich Brown, Fire Chief, City of Colorado Springs; Jerry Forte, CEO Colorado Springs Utilities; Chad Olson, Incident Commander Section Chief.”
Steve Cox: “Couple of announcements for the next couple of days. At 6pm, we’re going to open up the areas south of Champagne Drive, approximately 331 homes that can be repopulated. Homes are located on Champagne Drive, Flying W Ranch road south of Champgne, Hearthstone Lane, Alderstone Way, Stoneridge Drive, Capra Way, Ramsgate Terrace, Fieldstone Road, Brayburn Way, Cameo Way, Denby Way, Ellory Lane, Alpine Meadows Lane, And Granby Circle. Also included are Capra Way, and portions of Lionsgate Lane. CEO for utilities will, Jerry Forte, will talk about the natural gas and what it will take to get the homes open. We’d like to announce that on Thursday, from 9am-4pm residents and their insurance agents and adjusters will have access to their property. Check-in is at Verizon Building at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road. Photo ID is required. Important to clear the area after 4pm, to let the utilities crews get back to work.” See press release HERE.
Mayor Mark Snyder, City of Manitou: “Thanks to all those that have worked on the fire. We’ve reached a level of comfort with the fire. Pre-evcaution status is lifted as of now. Manitou is now on preparedness status. Visit www.readycolorado.com for ideas on being prepared. Manitou is back open for business.”
Rich Brown, Colorado Springs Fire Department: “Announcing this morning the City of Colorado Springs boundaries, as it relates to the Waldo Canyon Fire, are 100% contained. It’s great news. City and county have a fire ban. Still in extreme conditions. No open burning, camp fires, smoking, or cooking. It is unconscionable to flick a lit cigarette out the window. Fireworks are still illegal in the city. CSFD can issue summons for fireworks.”Jerry Forte, Colorado Springs Utilities: “Lots of progress yesterday relighting pilot lights in Oak Valley Ranch, Peregrine, and some of the areas of Mt. Shadows. We were able to get 1050 customers back in service. By the end of July 4th, hoping to to have 3000+ customers back online. Today, we celebrate the homecoming of 333 additional families returning to their homes. Leave your gas service off. Utilities will have your service up and running by the 5th or 6th. As they have gone into the damaged areas of Mt. Shadows, they’ve discovered it’s worse than they anticipated. As an example, [he shows a completely destroyed gas meter]. Some gas meters they can’t even find. It’s going to take longer to get the area repaired than they thought. They will triage least damaged areas first. 350 service lines are open to the air. The must cap-off all open gas lines. Process will take at least another week. Utilities will work with Emergency Management to let people in, as areas are repaired. Thanks to Excel Energy for their help. Thanks to citizens for their patience.”
Chad Olson, Section Chief for Incident Command: “Thanks from the firefighters on the line. The fire is really in good shape on the south, east and west flanks. Hwy 24 corridor through Rampart Reservoir is looking really good. The only area of concern is the northern part of the fire in the west Monument Creek Area. Still some unconfined lines in their. It’s rough country and it’s hard to get in there. A couple/three days before they’ll feel really comfortable. On the northern part of the fire along Mt. Herman road they’re continuing a contingency line and in the south, down through the Ferris(?) recreation area. It’s looking really good. Tentatively out of the woods.”
Greg Heule: “We’re at 17,920 acres. 70% contained. Five minor injuries so far. Questions…”
“What kind of injuries?” “Heat related. Just minor.”
“Talk a bit more about July 4th…” “Fireworks are illegal in Colorado Springs. Sparklers and all. We’re in lock step with the county. There will be no public fireworks displays.”
What’s the number of evocations now?” “After this lift occurs, there will be 2100 residents still evacuated. Preevauation notices are lifted.”
“What about flood danger?” “We’re meeting this morning about flooding. We’re looking at it very closely.”
“Fire investigation?” Jeff Kramer: “Team of people investigating. Task force working with the forest service, who is the lead on the investigation. No idea on timeline for conclusions. Doesn’t know the point of origin.”
Steve Cox: “People can repopulate areas on map as of 6pm.” (See earlier notes.)
Next briefing at 8am on Thursday.