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Late night update:
Updated: 3:55 PM
More evacuated streets to re-open at 5 p.m. today – July 5
On July 5th at 5:00 PM, Colorado Springs Utilities in coordination with the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management and the Colorado Spring Police Department will lift mandatory evacuations for another 126 homes that are currently in the mandatory evacuation area.
All Mountain Shadows residents who reside on the following streets may return home today, July 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM. (See map. Shaded areas are still under mandatory evacuation.)
· Alabaster Way
· Aubrey Way
· Brograns Bluff Dr (west of Rossmere St)
· Flying W Ranch Rd
· Lanagan St
· Linger Way
· Rossmere St
· Sandray Ct
· Sceptor Way
· Talleson Ct
· Trevor Ln
· Wilson Rd (west of Rossmere St)
The area still has considerable risk, with certain areas considered unsafe. Colorado Springs Utilities continues to work to test and repair the gas lines in the remaining evacuated areas. Once considered safe, the mandatory evacuation orders will be lifted for the remaining homes.
Residents are advised to prepare for flash flooding in burn areas by staying alert to flash flood watches and warnings and avoiding low-lying areas and places that are known to flood. Residents should not cross streaming water.
§ For fire-related information and services, call the Disaster Recovery Center at 444-8300 (M-F, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) or Pikes Peak United Way 2-1-1 Information & Referral to access services for non-emergency needs at (719) 955-0742 (24 hours a day, 7 days week).
§ The El Paso County Disaster Recovery Center is providing access to services such as health, regional building, grief counseling, insurance, etc. from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 105 N. Spruce Street.
8am Press Briefing, UCCS, Summary. Posted 9am.
Waldo Canyon Information Officer: “18,207 acres. 90% containment. Joint Information Center closed yesterday at 5PM. There are new numbers for information: for info relating to the fire, just the fire itself, you can call the ICP at 719-328-4333 and 719-328-4334; for information regarding the city, evacuations and utilities you can call 719-955-0742 or www.springsgov.com. A number of speakers today: Steve Cox, Mayor’s Executive Team; Pete Carey, Colorado Springs Police Chief; Jeff Kramer, PIO from the Sheriff’s Department; Bruce McCormick, Emergency Services Officer Colorado Springs Utilities; Jerri Marr, Pike San Isabel Forest and Cimarron and Comanche Grasslands Forest Supervisor; and finally, Rich Harvey, Information Officer for the Great Basin Incident Management Team. We’ll start with Steve Cox.”
Steve Cox: “On behalf of Mayor Steve Bach, we’d like to thank the media for their sensitivity to those who have been impacted by the fire. We’ve made great progress with Colorado Springs Utilities and are releasing areas for unfettered access. From 9a-4p, residents of impacted areas can get in to examine your property with your insurance agencies. Thanks, good day.”
Pete Carey, Police Chief: “Quick update on people returning home and discovering crimes. Numbers haven’t changed a whole lot. Overnight, there was one more car discovered that was broken into. They’ll try to get some numbers out later today on the number of burglaries and cars that were broken into. On Tuesday afternoon, he was contacted by an anonymous source offering $50,000 reward for anyone providing information that leads to the capture and arrest of anyone stealing from evacuees/homes impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire. There will be an announcement later today. Many different departments are working on capturing thieves, this $50,000 will make a huge difference in their work to find out who is behind the crimes. Thank you.”
Jeff Kramer: “Update about the investigative effort concerning the Waldo Canyon Fire. A point of origin has been located. Investigators are spending a lot of time at this undisclosed location starting their investigation. Cause has not yet been determined. Again, point of origin has been discovered, but he’s not at liberty to discuss where that location is. Thanks.”
Bruce McCormick: “We continue to make great progress in restoring utilities to damaged areas. Gas service was significantly damaged in the affected areas. When they began work, 4200 customers were without gas service. Due to efforts of utilities, all but about 500 homes have had their gas service restored. They’re continuing to work in central Mt. Shadows, where the work is more difficult and will go slower as we move forward. We expect to be able to release 250 more homes by the end of today and, possibly by the weekend, they can have all customers back in and ready for gas service. Reminder to customers to contact utilities, once they’re back in their homes. They’ve left instructions for home owners on how to contact utilities for having their pilots relit. Contact at www.csu.org for updates, or call the customer service number for updates at 719-448-4800.”
Waldo Canyon Fire PIO: “I failed to mention that Sallie Clark will also be speaking this morning.”
Sallie Clark: “Quick update on the Disaster Recovery Center. We will be open from 9am-7pm daily until no longer needed. It’s a central location where folks who have lost their homes or need assistance can go. Insurance companies, the health department, Colorado Springs Utilities, Health and Human Services, non-profits, state agencies such as the Department of Local Affairs are all there. It’s at 105 North Spruce Street, off of I-25 and Bijou. Again, open 9am-7pm daily. Grief counseling from Aspen Pointe is also available.”
Jerri Marr: “Big thanks to It’z. They have opened up on Monday night to just the children and families whose homes were burned or damaged in Waldo Canyon Fire. An email should be coming to those affected, explaining how to get tickets for the event on Monday night. Tickets at the checkpoints. Check your email. Monday night at 6pm. Today is the last briefing at UCCS. They are transitioning from a type one team to a type three team; they’ll take over at 0600 on Saturday morning. Weather has been great. We’re at 90%. What do you do after the fire? A BAER team will step in. A burned area emergency rehabilitation team comes in and evaluates the area for rehabilitation. That team is here and assembling. Rich will talk next about what is going to happen over the next two days as his team transitions out and the new team steps in.”
Rich Harvey: “90% contained. Focused on that 10%. The area still not contained is near Blodgett peak. It’s very rugged country. Hot shots went in as far as they could go. Monitoring the area from the air. Helicopters have been repeatedly dropping water on the area. Our goal for the area is to have round the clock eyes on it. When they haven’t seen smoke or detected heat from the area for 24 hours, they’ll start to feel comfortable that that area is contained. That is when they’ll call the fire 100% contained. They’re transitioning to a type three team. Even at 100% containment, there will be firefighters assigned to this fire. They will continue to monitor, mop up and attack any hot spots. There was some precipitation on the fire two days ago. The only movement of the fire comes from the interior islands. If you see smoke, that is where it’s coming from. After 30 years of firefighting experience, never once has he seen the public outpouring of support for the firefighters like he’s seen here. The firefighters would like to express their appreciation, awe at the way you guys have bonded together to move forward as well as to express your thanks. Words can’t tell you how much we appreciate that. Thank you.”
This will be the last scheduled media briefing.