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Westside community still concerned about fire danger

Days with low humidity and high winds can create dangerous circumstances for a fire
Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 20:29:34-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — On Tuesday, the Pikes Peak region was swept by high winds. Those conditions, along with medium to low humidity, can lead to fire dangers. For some residents in the Springs, that's something they're all too familiar with.

"The concern is real," said northwest resident Bill Wysong. "Whenever the wind comes up and you see the fire notices come out, it is eerie".

He's worked on properly mitigating his lawn and trees close to his house, trying to be proactive when thinking about fire danger. That's something Colorado Springs Fire Department Fire Marshal Brett Lacey thinks everyone should do.

"Winds can be very problematic for us, particularly in Colorado. In Colorado Springs we live in a high mountain desert. A lot of times the humidity is pretty low, and anytime those winds kick up with low humidity and a fire starts, it's gonna be bad either way".

He encourages people to mitigate their property, have a 'go-bag' ready, understand their evacuation route, and leave when asked to evacuate.

"We're feeling pretty comfortable the way things are now. That doesn't mean we can't have a fire any time of the day. Our resources are poised, our staffing is good, and we're pretty comfortable with the way the weather is behaving so far," said Lacey.

But Wysong is skeptical of the functionality of those measures alone in the Springs. He says that in particular, relying on mitigation won't help in the case of a serious fire.

"It helps. and in certain instances, it may be all the difference in the world. However, in a dire fire, we talked about the Marshall fire, Waldo, or the Black Forest fire. When it gets established and the wind blows, mitigation, more than likely, is not gonna help," said Wysong.

He's also concerned about how westside expansion will affect road congestion in evacuation routes. Wysong is a member of a group called Westside Watches, who says advocates for "responsible growth".
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