2016 Colorado Wildfires Highlight Need to Use Local Wood
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – October 17, 2016 – The large and destructive wildfires in Colorado this year, from the 38,000-acre Beaver Creek Fire still burning in beetle-kill timber in northwestern Colorado to the 16,000-acre Hayden Pass Fire southeast of Salida, are in part due to unhealthy forest conditions that made them prone to intense fire behavior. And with this week being National Forest Products Week, the Colorado State Forest Service wants to emphasize how having a robust wood products industry spurs not only widespread forest management, but the healthy forests and reduced wildfire risk that result from them.
“If we could increase the share of locally produced wood products that are purchased by Coloradans, the benefits would accrue not only to family-owned businesses, but to our forests themselves,” said Tim Reader, CSFS utilization and marketing forester.
More than 90 percent of the forest products purchased by Coloradans currently are imported into the state.
Kristina Hughes, another CSFS forester, is the program administrator for the Colorado Forest Products™ program, which encourages consumers to purchase locally made wood products from one of the state’s many wood-based businesses. She says that by purchasing locally harvested and produced wood products, citizens support the sawmills and other businesses that are improving forest health and protecting communities, property and critical infrastructure from wildfire.
Consumers looking to buy locally produced wood products or businesses interested in joining the Colorado Forest Products™ program can go to www.coloradoforestproducts.org. Coloradoans also can learn more about the way they can contribute to the wood products economy and how the state is supporting these businesses by visiting http://csfs.colostate.edu/cowood.
The 4th Annual Zombie Run and PrepareAthon is Set for Sept. 24
Emergency Preparedness the Focal Point of the Event
El Paso County, CO, August 29, 2016 – El Paso County’s Bear Creek Regional Park will host the 4th Annual Zombie Run and PrepareAthon on Saturday, Sept. 24, to promote emergency preparedness.
“The PrepareAthon is not just a fun zombie run, but an event for entire families,” said County Commissioner Peggy Littleton. Littleton reminds area residents that emergency preparedness is a matter of personal responsibility because emergencies frequently cutoff communications and disrupt travel. “It is our personal responsibility to know what to do when You're On Your Own, YOYO. We each are the first responders to any event—fire, flood, power failure—and we need to be well informed and prepared.” Everyone is invited to join the zombies as children make preparedness pillowcases, Boy Scouts demonstrate how to 'live off the grid' and others provide education and tools to be prepared.”
The annual 3K run and PrepareAthon encourages local residents to understand the importance of being prepared for emergencies like the fires, flash flooding and blizzards the Pikes Peak region has seen in recent years. At home, at work, or at school, residents need to have their own specific emergency plans. The family friendly PrepareAthon offers everyone an opportunity to talk with emergency responders and vendors and learn more about emergency preparedness establishing personal emergency plans.
“The whole family can have free fun and become better prepared at the same time,” said Robin Adair, El Paso County Community Preparedness and CERT coordinator. “Everyone will find a valuable takeaway, if you’ve already well-prepared and want to take it to the next level, or if you’re just starting to pack your first emergency kit.”
The Zombie Run is a traditional 3K with minor obstacles and zombies. The runners will wear “life flags,” similar to flag football. The fully costumed zombies try to steal the flags from the runners as they move along the trail. Runners who lose flags must correctly answer emergency preparedness questions to get their life flags back. For those who like a little more fun, they can also modify their traditional running apparel to dress as zombies.
Zombie Run and PrepareAthon
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
Pre Registration is required for runners and zombies.
Register at www.PikesPeakZombieRun.com
$30 for the 3K Run/Walk: Early Bird and Team discounts available.
You can also register to participate as a zombie to chase the runners for $10.
A commemorative event t-shirt is included in your registration fee.
Time: The first of multiple heats begins at 10 a.m.
Location: Bear Creek Regional Park, 2002 Creek Crossing, Colorado Springs.
The event is on the east side of the park near the Park’s Office and community garden.
PrepareAthon: is free, open to the public, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
No need to be a runner or a zombie to enjoy the PrepareAthon.
Family activities, information, & demonstrations to include:
• Emergency Responders, Vehicles, and Equipment
(fire trucks, bulldozer, bug-out car)
• Personal and Family Readiness for Disaster
• Off-grid camping and survival demonstrations
• Disaster First Aid
• Fire escape planning smoke demonstration trailer
• Backup and portable power alternatives
• Preparedness supplies and gear (plus zombie novelty items)
• Animal Readiness for domestic pets & livestock (plus petting zoo)
• Readiness Activities for children (with take-home kit)
• Community Emergency Response Team
• Community Gardeners
• Games and prizes (free stuff!)
• Hands-on Fire extinguisher practice (real flames)
Food Trucks on site
El Paso County Office of Emergency Management Flash Flood Information Meeting TONIGHT
Travel, Mitigation, Preparedness and Recovery To Be Discussed
El Paso County, CO, April 4, 2016 – The El Paso County Office of Emergency Management will host a meeting at the Joyland Church (10605 Green Mountain Falls Road) in Green Mountain Falls tonight (April 4) from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. to give Ute Pass area residents updated information on flood risks, mitigation efforts and preparations for upcoming Spring and Summer rainstorms.
El Paso County Office of Emergency Management, Public Services Department, Commissioner Sallie Clark, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the National Weather Service and local fire districts will address various issues and answer questions.
Weather monitoring and warning systems, personal, family and business preparedness plans, road closure procedures and ongoing mitigation efforts will be discussed at this meeting.
“It is important to make sure residents are prepared as we move into spring and summer and have the potential for heavy rain to create flash flooding from the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar,” said District 3 El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark. “This is a great opportunity to get the latest information and to make sure you are ready. I hope everyone in the area is able to attend this very important meeting.”
You can get more information on disaster preparedness at:
Those attending the meeting will also be able to view displays and learn more about the Fountain Creek Watershed from the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.
For questions about the April 4th meeting call (719) 575-8858.
Fire Learning Network Prescribed Burns Postponed until 2016
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network has decided to postpone its prescribed burns until next year. The group had planned to conduct burns in two areas, Catamount and Sourdough, both in the Woodland Park area. However, weather and conditions were not ripe to move forward with the projects this year.
When a controlled burn is implemented, it is conducted under very specific parameters laid out after years of planning. Daily weather conditions play a key role in whether a burn can be accomplished or not. Due to moisture levels, weather forecasts and burn restrictions, the fire managers did not feel there was a window in which to initiate the burns at this time.
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network will revisit these projects in 2016 and will continue to keep the community apprised as to when they plan to move forward with these burns.
Please visit www.pikespeakfln.org for more information on these projects and to learn more about the Fire Learning Network.
The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network is a group of stakeholders working together to foster the safe and appropriate use of fire as a management tool for reducing wildfire risks to communities, restoring forest resilience and enabling people and nature to better adapt to and co-exist with fire. More information can be found at www.pikespeakfln.org
Pikes Peak Prescribed Burns Scheduled to Begin Mid-October
October , 2015 – The Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network will conduct two prescribed fire projects this fall in the Woodland Park area. The Sourdough and North Catamount burns are scheduled to take place in mid to late October, exact dates will depend on weather conditions.
Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network is a collaborative group established to bring local and regional partners together to collectively identify and implement strategies for the safe, effective and appropriate use of fire for forest management.
“Prescribed fire is a highly effective land management tool that can greatly minimize the risk of unnaturally large and damaging wildfires, while improving wildlife habitat and strengthening the health of our landscapes and watersheds,” said Jason Lawhon, Fire Manager for the Colorado Nature Conservancy. “The Fire Learning Network brings together community members and fire and land management professionals to learn from each burn experience.”
The Sourdough prescribed burn will take place over a 14.8 acre area located north of Woodland Park. It will occur on private property off of Sourdough road just south of the Manitou Experimental Forest. Organized primarily through the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, North East Teller Fire and The Nature Conservancy, the goals of the project are to reduce hazardous fire fuels and increase understory grass and plant recovery after a previous forest thinning project.
The burn will take place any time after October 12. The exact date will depend on weather and fuel conditions. There will be one day of burning and crews will remain on scene for multiple days after the burn to monitor the fire until it is completely extinguished.
“Without prescribed fire, we as a society cannot hope to achieve the goals of forest resiliency, community protection, and watershed health,” said Jonathan Bruno, Chief Operation Officer of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte. “These are all critical to protecting people, property, and ecosystems.”
The North Catamount prescribed burn will take place on a 105 acre area located on the
Colorado Springs Utilities’ North Slope Watershed near the North Catamount Reservoir.
Colorado Springs Utilities is the lead Network member on this project with goals of protecting water supply and infrastructure in its watersheds as well as improving forest heath and reducing fuels.
The burn is scheduled to take place any time after October 18 depending on conditions. There will be 1 to 2 days of burning with crews on the scene for multiple days after monitoring until it is completely extinguished.
“Over the past 20 years, multiple fuel reduction projects have been completed on the North Slope using hand crews and other mechanical techniques,” said Eric Howell, Colorado Springs Utilities Forest Program Manager. “Over time, however, wildfire conditions have increased. We can help mitigate risks effectively and safely through the implementation of prescribed fire.”
Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network is actively working with Colorado Air Pollution and Control Division to manage potential smoke impacts from the burns. When a controlled burn is implemented, it is conducted under very specific parameters laid out after years of planning. Daily weather conditions play a key role in whether a burn can be accomplished or not. The project fire managers will be evaluating conditions and forecasted weather to make the best decision on when to initiate these burns.
The Network is working to make sure that community members are kept abreast of information regarding these burns and hope to address any concerns and questions. Once the exact dates of the burns are known, the media and public will be notified. Up to date information will also be disseminated through the Pikes Peak Fire Learning Network twitter account, @Pikespeak_FLN with related hashtags, #SourdoughRX and #CatamountRX.
Midland Trail underpass at I-25 to close July 20
Temporary Trail Detour in Place During Construction of New Trail
Beginning the morning of Monday, July 20, crews on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT) Interstate-25/Cimarron Interchange Design-Build Project will close the Midland Trail I-25 underpass into America the Beautiful Park as they begin a series of trail improvements. The access to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail off Colorado Avenue will remain open; and signed, clearly marked Midland Trail detour routes will be in place for users to navigate around the closure. The new trail configuration that opens in summer of 2017 will create a better experience for trail users.
Midland Trail Detour: Eastbound trail users will take S. Chestnut Street north to W. Cucharras Street, continue as it becomes S. Walnut Street and connects to Colorado Avenue, then take Colorado Avenue east under I-25 to the Greenway Trail or continue on Colorado Avenue to Cimino Drive to access America the Beautiful Park and connect back to the Midland Trail.
Development Code Exceptions for Black Forest Fire Properties Allowed to Expire
Temporary Exceptions May Be Allowed After Administrative Review on a Case by Case Basis
El Paso County, CO, Tuesday July 7, 2015 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners today confirmed the immediate expiration of code exceptions which were put in place make it easier for residents to rebuild after the 2013 Black Forest Fire. The Board’s unanimous decision allows the Development Services Department to work with individual property owners with extraordinary circumstances on an individual basis to allow them to continue to live in recreational vehicles (RVs) for a limited time pending the completion of construction work on their homes.
The Board heard from a number of Black Forest residents who are in the process of rebuilding bur still living in RV’s due to financial hardships, pending insurance litigation and medical issues. The Board’s decision gives those residents with active building permits, pending insurance settlements or other extraordinary circumstances the opportunity to work with the Development Services Department on a case by case basis.
The Board also heard from residents who expressed concerns that some of the properties burned in the fire are still littered with rusting fire debris, burned out vehicles, multiple trailers and piles of demolition and construction materials creating localized blight and reducing the value of their properties. With the Board’s decision today, County Code Enforcement Officers are directed to resume regular enforcement procedures associated with the rubbish ordinance and all other applicable Land Development Code provisions in the Black Forest area.
Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who represents the Black Forest Area, noted that allowing the two-year old exceptions to expire provides clear direction in establishing a way forward for the entire community. Commissioner Dennis Hisey added, “It’s time to go after the rubbish; the rusting debris from burned out houses that still exists on some of those properties.” Commissioner Amy Lathen added, “We always make a concerted effort to work with those who are suffering but this allows our staff to get in there and begin working with property owners to clear out the rubbish.”
FREE Sandbags available to protect homes from potential flooding
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs residents can pick up FREE unfilled sandbags to help protect their homes from potential flooding at four Colorado Springs Fire stations (while supplies last).
Fire Station 5 – 2830 W. Colorado Ave.
Fire Station 9 – 622 Garden of the Gods Rd.
Fire Station 12 – 445 Rockrimmon Blvd.
Fire Station 13 – 1475 Cresta Rd
Free sand to fill sandbags is available at no cost in the parking lot of Wilson United Methodist Church, 6460 Flying W Ranch Rd while supplies last.
If you are a resident picking up sandbags at these locations, please know:
These bags are not filled with sand. Only the four fire stations listed above will have the bags, no other fire stations will have the bags available.
Our fire stations will be in service and may not be at the station when you come to pick up the bags. We ask that you either wait for their return or try stopping by at a different time.
You will need to sign the Sandbag Distribution Form.
You may take 100 bags for each address per day. You may pick up more bags if you need them on a different day.
You will receive an information bag that contains: instructions on sandbag placement, Colorado Springs Emergency Preparedness Guide, and other flood information.
Additionally, 1000 sandbags and sand will be available at Security Fire Station 1, 400 Security Blvd., for citizen self-service.
Residents are advised to consult a certified erosion and sediment control consultant or contractor to manage flooding mitigation on their private property. Sandbags should not be placed in the public right-of-way. For information on potential flooding visit www.ColoradoSprings.gov/floodinfo.
Free Sandbags Now Available at Security Fire Station Number One
El Paso County, CO, June 16, 2015 – The El Paso Co Office of Emergency Management is now making free sandbags available in the Stratmoor-Security-Widefield areas for any residents impacted by flooding. The bags are available for self-service (fill your own) at Security Fire Station 1, located at 400 Security Blvd.
Highway 24 Business Fully Reopened
MANITOU SPRINGS — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reopened westbound U.S. 24 Business (Manitou Avenue) from mainline Highway 24 to Serpentine Drive. On Memorial Day, rocks had fallen in the eastbound lanes resulting in a closure of both lanes. Eastbound had reopened on May 28.
This ½ mile segment of westbound Highway 24 Business had been kept closed after cracks were discovered in the westbound lane of the roadway last Thursday. CDOT engineers monitored the cracking on westbound Highway 24 Business last week and have determined that the road is stable and safe to reopen. The area will continued to be monitored during heavy rain storms.
This segment of U.S. 24 Business is a low-use roadway, with an average daily traffic count of 1,500 vehicles.
EMERGENCY FLOOD PROJECT—
ROCK ISLAND TRAIL
Volunteers are urgently needed Thurs, May 28 to help El Paso County Parks fill and place sand bags on the Rock Island Trail. The job involves some lifting, bending and shoveling.
Meet at 10 am at EPC Public Service building, 3255 Acres Drive. Call Adam Baker for more information and to sign up, 719-495-0765.
Park & Trail Closures UPDATE!
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services staff continues to assess damage throughout the City’s park system from recent rain. Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Polk Street and Tremont Street has re-opened. The following remain closed at this time.
City Parks and Trails Closures
• The Midland Trail between 26th Street and Ridge Road
• Red Rock Canyon Open Space due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon. At this time, no private property is affected. Park staff is assessing damage and trail conditions throughout the entire property.
• Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods between Gateway Road and the Navigators.
• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park
Park and trail users are strongly encouraged to heed trail closures and avoid low lying areas for their own safety. Please follow all closures, barricades and exercise caution on all trails. Varying degrees of damage may exist on the trails and in the parks.
Park and trail users are also encouraged to use good judgment to help protect our natural resources in the areas that remain open. Most parks and trails are completely saturated and muddy. If you do venture out this weekend, remember to stay on the trails – even if they’re muddy – to help protect the land and natural areas.
• The Midland Trail between 26th Street and Ridge RoadEl Paso County has also released a list of its closures:
• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Polk Street and Tremont Street
• Red Rock Canyon Open Space due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon. At this time, no private property is affected. Park staffs is assessing damage and trail conditions throughout the entire property.
• Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods between Gateway Road and the Navigators.
• Pikes Peak Greenway Trail between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park
Parks Closes Trails——- ORIGINAL POST, May 13, 2:46 P.M. ——-
Damage from Rain and Flash Flooding
El Paso County, CO, May 23, 2015 – El Paso County Parks has closed numerous trails due to damage from the recent rains and flash flooding.
Closed Trails include:
New Santa Fe Regional Trail - The trail section through the Air Force Academy (AFA) has been temporarily closed by the AFA due to heighten security concerns.
Rainbow Falls Recreation Area - The site is temporarily closed due to flooding issues and CDOT road closures.
Ute Pass Regional Trail- The trail is closed from Crystola Canyon Road south to Green Mountain Falls Road due to trail washouts.
Fountain Creek Regional Trail -
1. The Hanson Trailhead is closed in addition to area trails. The bridge across Fountain Creek near the trailhead is also closed.
2. The Fishers Canyon trail section (near Maxwell Street Trailhead) is closed due to structural issues.
3. The trail section through the Stratmoor Valley Trailhead is closed due to creek bank failures and trail washouts.
4. The trail sections near Willow Springs Ponds and Highway 16 underpass are closed due to creek bank failures and washout of trails.
Clear Springs Ranch - Trail closed at low water crossing approximately ¼ mile north of the trailhead.
Regional Park Trails - Numerous trails in regional parks have been impacted by flooding. Park users are advised to use caution on all regional park trails.
Closure of two major trail segmentsThe Trails and Open Space Coalition appears to have a more exhaustive list of such closures on its website. So far, it lists the following:
Colorado Springs, CO – Rains of the past week and the subsequent flooding have damaged two vital parts of the City’s regional trail system necessitating the closure of two major trail segments:
· Flooding along Camp Creek significantly damaged the Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods. The trail has been closed between Gateway Road and the Navigators
· Three major washouts occurred on the Greenway Trail and it has been closed between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park
City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services staff is investigating the damage and will be identifying a path forward to facilitate repairs and accommodate reroutes where possible. Also, various degrees of damage may exist on trail segments throughout the community so our trail users are advised to use caution.
• Pikes Peak Greenway—south of Tejon, and near Monument Valley Park
• Midland Trail near 25th St.
• Foothills Trail near Glen Eyrie
• Fountain Creek Regional Trail—three closures
• Ute Pass Regional Trail—Green Mtn Falls
• Rainbow Falls