Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Where were city engines during the Waldo Canyon Fire?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 4:46 PM

As reported in "Seeing through the haze," in today's Independent, not all the Colorado Springs Fire Department apparatus assigned to the Waldo Canyon Fire were in positions to combat the fire at any given time.

As of today, we haven't been able to find out why that is. City officials have chosen not to address many questions about their part in the planning, staging and oversight of fire resources, and evacuations.

Perhaps the assigned resources not deployed to the fire site were considered "pre-designated resources," as referenced in the Tuesday, June 26, operational plan written by the Type 1 Incident Command team the previous night. In the control operations section about the "Colorado Springs Branch," for which Springs fire officials Steve Dubay, Ted Collas and Steve Riker served as branch directors, the report notes:

"Pre-designated resources will resond [sic] under supervision of OPBD [branch directors] in the event fire crosses the forest/Colorado Springs City Boundary."

The report also notes, "Structure point protection and IA [initial attack] along western boundary of Colo Spgs from US Hwy 24 & 31st Street to the Northern Colo Spgs boundary with USAFA [Air Force Academy]. Continued improvement of two track 'Navigators Road' from quary [sic] northward to Wilson Tank, and from Wilson Tank northeast to Allegheny Rd."

Here's a recent photo of the area immediately south of Allegheny Road.

Regardless, the Independent obtained Global Positioning System coordinates for the locations of every CSFD apparatus assigned to the fire at key points between June 23 and June 26.

Here's a Google Earth map based on the coordinates given for approximately 5:15 p.m., Tuesday, June 26, the time the city issued a press release telling residents in north Mountain Shadows and Peregrine to evacuate, even as fire rushed into their neighborhoods and began destroying 345 homes. Two people, Barbara and William Everett, were killed.

The pink dots are Springs Fire resources the city says were assigned to the fire. Click on the map to see a larger version.

Waldo Canyon Fire, locations
  • All locations were reported within 55 minutes of 5:15 p.m.; all but three were reported within 30 minutes of that time.

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