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Wildfire evacuation drill happening in three El Paso County neighborhoods

Posted at 10:49 PM, May 23, 2019

EL PASO COUNTY – Are you prepared to evacuate in the event of a natural disaster near your home?

If not, get ready for the real deal. Local emergency management is looking for residents in Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs to participate in a wildfire evacuation exercise in a couple of weeks.

On Thursday, a pre-drill meeting was held at Manitou Springs City Hall for residents of the Crystal Park, Upper Skyway and Crystal Hills neighborhoods. Some of these areas were evacuated during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

“It was quite an experience,” said Archie Wilson. He was just one of the many people who had to flee their homes when the Waldo Canyon Fire blazed across the Pikes Peak region in 2012.

“It wasn’t a matter of if we were going to have a fire. It was when.”

He had an evacuation plan in place back then and now he wants a refresher course.

“I think it’s very necessary. I think it’s important to be prepared.”

He and other residents will be participating in a voluntary wildfire evacuation drill on Saturday, June 8th. Doing this is especially important for the Crystal Park neighborhood.

David Husted, preparedness officer for the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management, said, “If there’s a fire it’s one way in and out…they’re going to get a knock on the door from a police officer, a deputy sheriff or a firefighter. They’re going to go to Holmes Middle School and when they evacuate there they’re going to have an animal shelter, a Red Cross shelter.”

Husted is encouraging people to make this drill as real as they want it to be.

“Really think it through. What would you do if?”

Newcomers like Cody Burleson who just moved to the area said, “I know nothing about wildfires so that’s why I’m here…I’ve seen the evidence of the fact that there was a wildfire here so it’s definitely a real thing.”

If you’d like to sign up to participate in the drill or want more information CLICK HERE.