COLORADO SPRINGS — No matter where you live in Colorado Springs the threat of wildfires is all around us and it's year-round. Plus, despite the recent rain, the Colorado Springs Fire Department says everyone still needs to be on alert for wildfires. They're also hoping more people will show up to town halls to talk about the risk.
The fire department is hosting the town hall series called Living with Wildfires weekly until at least September. For the next two weeks, the fire department is focusing their efforts in eastern Colorado Springs.
These neighborhoods are part of the Wild land Urban Interface. Many people may think the area is not at a great risk for wildfires, but it is. There are open spaces, and hundreds of homes in the area, and the fire department says this area can be devastated if a wildfire begins.
“You may think that some of these parts of the city do not belong in the Wild land Urban Interface or have less of a fire risk,” said Angela Bird, a fire and life safety educator for the fire department. “It doesn't matter where you live, there's going to be fire risk, whether it's house to house, whether it's a grassland fire or it's a wildfire.”
Bird said the area does have a greater fire risk because of the topography and vegetation, and that’s why they’re encouraging neighbors in those communities to attend the town hall meetings.
Domenic Gonzales recently moved to the area, and said he’s interested in learning more at the meetings.
“I would think it's pretty useful information or something that you would need to know especially living in the areas. Every type of atmosphere has different environments, and you have to deal with different types of situations,” said Gonzales. “I want keep the family safe. You never know how fast fires travel, they travel fast and once they get going, they get going.”
Meanwhile, Bird also said there’s been a big decline in people showing up to the town hall meetings.
In April, when the meetings were being held on the west side of town which is at high risk for fires, around 200 people went to the meetings. But last month, one meeting had about a dozen people. She thinks the rain and weather played a part.
“I think when people think we get rain or even when it's cooler temperatures, definitely when we got those two feet of snow, guards do go down. But the wildfire risk doesn't ever really go down,” said Bird.
For people living North of Filmore, East of I-25, South of Woodmen, and West of Academy, in the North Nevada/The Studio, Cragmor, Garden Ranch, Vista Grande, Pulpit Rock, Kitty Hawk/Bonnyville neighborhoods. The meetings will be:
Tuesday, July 12, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Pulpit Rock Church located at 301 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Thursday, July 14, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Pulpit Rock Church located at 301 Austin Bluffs Parkway
For people living North of Platte/Uintah, South of Filmore, East of I-25, and West of Academy, in the Roswell, Old North End, Patty Jewett, Middle Shooks Run, Palmer Heights, Austin Estates, Palmer Park, Wasson neighborhoods. The meetings will be:
Tuesday, July 19, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at First United Methodist Church located at 420 N. Nevada Ave
Thursday, July 21, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at First United Methodist Church located at 420 N. Nevada Ave
Captain Mike Smaldino, the PIO for the Colorado Springs Fire Department said “The Living with Wildfire Town Hall Series aims to empower the community to be ready if a wildfire happens. Topics being discussed are: how to prepare your home for wildfire, creating a wildfire action plan, and knowing when and how to evacuate. All community members are welcome to attend even if they do not live in these areas of town.”
For more information, visit: www.coswildfireready.org/town-hall-series.
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