Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October Fires Keep CDPS Busy

Numerous employees representing four out of five CDPS divisions mobilized in response to nearly back-to-back large-scale wildfires in southern Colorado in October.

Beulah Hill Fire
Shortly after the Beulah Hill Fire erupted on Oct. 3, 2016, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control responded to provide resources, firefighters and leadership to assist with managing the fire. Members of Fire Prevention and Control stepped up to serve key roles in incident command of the response during the early days of fire, before handing command off to an incident management team. DFPC firefighters worked the fire on the ground, and the state’s multi-mission aircraft provided critical fire information from the air.

Troopers from the Colorado State Patrol helped keep residents and their homes safe by assisting with road blocks and traffic control.

CBI investigators assisted with on-the-ground investigations to determine what caused the fire.

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management operated the State Emergency Operations Center to provide resources and support. Staff also reported to the Pueblo Emergency Operations Center and to the Incident Command Post to help manage the incident and to plan recovery efforts to help Beulah residents who suffered losses in the fire.

Even after evacuations had been lifted, CDPS employees continued to support ongoing operations. Firefighters assisted with final containment and mop-up efforts. DHSEM recovery specialists played key role in coordinating a disaster assistance center and a donation center. They also are managing emergency assistance that Governor Hickenlooper authorized for residents who lost their primary residences in the fire.

Junkins Fire
Emergency responders had little time to rest before another wildfire on Oct. 17 quickly spread in red-flag conditions 11 miles west of Westcliffe -- not far from the Beulah Hill Fire.

Once again, DFPC sent firefighters and resources to the scene, and a DFPC Type III team assumed incident command before handing off to a type I incident management team. The Multi-Mission Aircraft took to the air to provide data about the size, location and hot spots of the fire. DHSEM activated the state EOC to coordinate resources and sent staff to the field, including a PIO to assist with media and public information.

Road closures meant a call for help from the Colorado State Patrol to ensure traffic safety.

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