EL PASO COUNTY — The wildfire that devastated communities in Boulder County is what Emergency Managers across the state work to prevent. "We certainly feel for those folks, absolutely it's horrible,” said Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management (PPROEM), Director Jim Reid.
Tragedy in the wake of wildfire is understood well in Southern Colorado. Hundreds of homes burned during the Waldo Canyon fire, and hundreds more a year later in the Black Forest Fire.
Those fires increased attention on mitigation. Much of the focus has been directed toward urban areas in the foothills. The Marshall Fire in Boulder County shows reason to evaluate mitigation and evacuation plans for people living closer to the plains.
"You can never be too early to start mitigating, you can only be too late,” said Colorado Springs Fire Department, Wildfire Mitigation Coordinator, Melissa Hoffman. Her crews recognize the rapid growth and increasing number of neighborhoods near grasslands on the eastern edge of the city. Most of the mitigation questions her office receives are from homeowners living near the mountains and bluffs in Colorado Springs. She wants people living near the plains to know mitigation resources are equally available to them.
Mitigation does not have to be difficult. “That's cleaning out your gutters, keeping combustible material away from the house and keeping your grass cut very low around your house,” said Reid.
Pike Peak Emergency Management has mitigation resources on its website PPROEM.com
Downloading the Pikes Peak Prepared app is also a good resource.
PPROEM is offering an online wildfire prevention course February 27 in conjunction with a local volunteer group. It is free.
Colorado Springs Fire Department also offers online resources in the fire department section of ColoradoSprings.gov