1. Where can I find up-to-date information on the fire?
Inciweb is updated once or twice a day with maps and announcements: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/
The Facebook page is updated at least twice a day, with briefings posted morning and evening: https://www.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire
The Cameron Peak Fire StoryMap page is being used by fire managers in conjunction with the Facebook page to post fire information and maps: https://nifc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=821eb2bac47c48c69558075f21365f01
2. How can I receive updated information from CLVFD?
You can sign up for our group email here: Constant Contact Signup. We
will only use your email address for these group emails and you may unsubscribe at any time using a link that appears at the end of every email.
3. I need help evacuating, have nowhere to go if I evacuate, have questions about the fire, or have questions about non-fire-related things. Who do I call?
Fire information: 970-541-1008
Shelter assistance or help evacuating: 970-498-7120
All other questions: 970-980-2501
4. How will I know if there’s an evacuation? How will I know if evacuation orders are lifted?
All evacuation orders will be issued through the LETA/NoCoAlert system. To receive one, you must sign up at https://leta911.org or https://nocoalert.org. You only need to sign up at one of these websites -- their sign-up forms enroll you in the same emergency alert system. The
NoCoAlert site also has maps and other information on recent alerts.
The lifting of evacuation orders and any other similar emergency alert information will be sent out via the LETA/NoCoAlert system. Make sure to sign up with your cellphone number, so you’ll get these alerts wherever you are (alerts also come more quickly to cellphones than landlines, which makes them an important choice for safety).
5. What do I do if there’s a voluntary evacuation order?
Voluntary evacuation orders do not come with a requirement for residents to leave. They do, however, indicate that the fire has reached a stage where emergency managers are concerned about the
safety of residents. If you receive a voluntary evacuation order and have somewhere else you can safely go, please leave the area in your own time. Leaving is encouraged but not required. Roads
into Crystal Lakes may be blocked during voluntary evacuation.
6. What do I do if there’s a mandatory evacuation order?
Mandatory evacuation orders do require residents to leave the area. They indicate that the fire has reached a stage where emergency managers are concerned about imminent harm to the community’s
residents. Departure from the area within a few hours at most is strongly recommended. For the duration of the time that the area is under mandatory evacuation, the roads into Crystal Lakes will be
blocked and people will not be permitted to enter. If you choose not to leave, you need to make an informed decision and be aware that none of the responding agencies will have the available
resources to rescue you later.
7. What are the credentials for? How will I get back into the area if there’s a mandatory evacuation?
Credentials will be necessary to return to the area after mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted. This is to prevent people from entering the evacuation area once the initial lock-down is lifted and taking advantage of the opportunity to steal from empty houses, etc. Credentials may also be necessary to enter the area during voluntary evacuation. We do not know at this time for how long credentials will be required. If you do not have credentials issued to you before you evacuate, there will be opportunities to get them during evacuation. Make sure you’re signed up to receive emergency alerts (Question 3) so you’re notified when Larimer County sets up opportunities to receive credentials.
8. What should I be doing between now and if/when there’s an evacuation order issued?
First, prepare for evacuation -- Make sure you have plans in place for what you’re taking and where you’re going. Make sure that you’ve packed your important papers and anything that you intend to take with you so you can grab these items and leave as soon as evacuation orders are issued. CLVFD provides evacuation advice here.
Second, mitigate your property -- Take steps now to remove fuels that may carry fire to your property or allow embers and firebrands to start fires on your property. The most immediate and easiest steps you can take (which can have a significant impact on your house’s defensibility) are to clean leaves and pine needles out of your gutters, sweep leaves and needles off your deck, and rake leaves and needles back from your house, leaving a five-foot fuel-free zone around the house. Another easy step is to limb up all trees within thirty feet of your house -- remove limbs up to a height of 6-10 feet (or if a tree is shorter than that, 2/3 the height of the tree). Additional mitigation advice and resources are available here.
9. Why didn't you set the sirens off when mandatory evacuation were ordered?
After reviewing the situation and the sheriff’s advice about community risk, we determined that community members were not in the kind of imminent danger that the sirens are intended for. We’ve always told the community that the sirens mean to drop everything and get out immediately because to delay would mean risking life and limb. Because of the sheriff department’s determination to ensure that evacuations are triggered early enough to ensure that people can get out safely, we were not in a situation where an imminent life-threat existed, and we did not want to risk creating such a threat by causing any panic in the community by use of the sirens. We are currently reserving the siren use for if/when the fire is directly on our border and creating an imminent threat to the safety of anyone still in the community.
10. Why did some of the evacuation notification steps you teach in your Evacuation Workshop not happen?
The evacuation protocols that we’ve generated and shared with the community are predicated on our dealing with a fire either inside Crystal Lakes or immediately on our borders that requires CLVFD to manage all parts of the initial evacuation. We've therefore created plans for how we'll respond in that circumstance, including how we'll handle making contact with the community, how we'll mark the properties we've visited, how we'll handle traffic flow during evacuation, etc. As it happens, in this situation, it is the Larimer Sheriff’s Department that is determining things like trigger points, how evacuation notices are issued, and what kind of fire department response is necessary to ensure community safety during evacuation. This has resulted in some of the evacuation steps happening in ways we did not know to prepare the community for.
11. I need to get up to my property to winterize/unplug something/retrieve a valuable I forgot. How can I do that?
There are times when it may be possible for you to come up through the roadblocks, if the fire activity suggests it's safe to do so. You'll need credentials to do so. Call the Joint Information Center at 970-980-2500 or 2501 to find out if you'll be permitted up on the day/time you wish to come. Determinations about when people may enter the area are dependent on fire behavior. Please do not try to come up unless there's something you must do that cannot wait and do not plan to stay.
12. Other than direct containment lines, what’s being done to protect our area?
Several dozer lines and fire breaks have been put in between us and the potential path of the fire. In addition to punching dozer lines through the woods, firefighters have been widening these lines and existing roads by removing fuels on the western and southern sides of them. On Deadman Road, for example, they’ve removed fuels to a width of several hundred feet. Some of these dozer lines have also been plumbed, meaning hoses have been deployed along them that firefighters can tie into a water tender to wet down the area before the fire’s arrival or possibly attack a ground fire moving towards that line. These options, of course, will only be available if fire behavior is not such that deploying people in front of it would be hazardous to them.
Over the course of this incident, several such lines have been created around the community. Two are anchored at Deadman Road and move north roughly parallel to each other, skirting the west side of the 9th and 14th filings and running through the western edge of the Jenny Creek area to link up with dozer lines along the southern edge of Beaver Meadows. This line then runs up along the western side of the Pearl Creek subdivision and links into the Pearl Beaver Road west of Crystal. Over the last couple of days, they’ve been working to add a line running west from 73C along the southern edge of the 9th and 14th filings and linking up with the line along the west edge of the area. In addition, lines have been dozed between Crystal and Red Feather to the east of 73C and a lot of fuel reduction has been done on the privately-owned land around Red Feather and between Red Feather and Crystal. Part of the goal of fire managers is to use the available time and equipment to create fire breaks that will hopefully not only help protect us from this fire but future ones. The plumbing will be removed after the Cameron Peak fire is out, but the lines will remain for decades to come and new growth can be quickly scraped off if and when another fire threatens us.
13. Various updates mention structure protection groups doing mitigation work -- what exactly are they doing?
Crews are performing mitigation on the properties that, based on current fire behavior, may be most likely to be impacted. This is not a full mitigation effort and does not involve limbing up or removing any trees or brush. It’s a “down and dirty” effort to address any hazards that can be quickly mitigated, allowing crews to move rapidly and work on as many properties as possible. This effort is “light touch,” taking steps to mitigate the fire danger without doing damage to the property -- raking pine needles away from structures and removing flammables from on decks and against buildings. This is different from the steps firefighters take when a structure is under imminent threat, at which point, protective steps may be undertaken without regard to whether they damage outbuildings, decks, stairs, or trees. At that point, firefighters’ attitude is along the lines of losing the limb to save the patient.
14. Where is this mitigation work being done in Crystal Lakes and how did you decide where to mitigate?
Properties along the southern and western edges of the 9th and 14th filings and along the western edge of the 1st and 7th filings have received this "light touch" mitigation. Efforts have focused on the properties on either side of the roads and courts that skirt those edges of the community. These areas were worked on because, based on the observed and forecast fire behavior at the time the work was done, these areas are most likely to be impacted first if the fire moves towards Crystal Lakes.
15. What kind of mitigation changes will I find when I return if I'm the owner of one of the mitigated properties?
Pine needles will have been raked back a foot or more from the house wherever possible. If a weedwhacker was available, small vegetation may have been removed from up against the structure. Flammable deck furniture and decorations will have been moved away from the house into a cleared area. Inflammable furniture and heavy furniture that’s not more likely to catch fire than the deck itself will have been left on the deck but moved away from the house to ensure it won’t trap heat against the walls. Propane tanks will have been removed from grills and moved away from the house into a cleared area. Firewood stored on or under decks will have been tossed off the deck, away from the house. These look like small things but can have a large impact on the survivability of a structure.
16. I want to see what the fire's doing in real time. Are there any webcams pointed at the fire?
Yes, the county has provided YouTube access to two cameras aimed into the fire area. They're available here:
View from Deadman Tower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt8xOqz_PGI
View from Red Feather Lakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emZrXAj5Ec4 (Sorry, we don't have any information about exactly where this camera is located.)
17. I still have questions. Who do I contact?
Questions may be sent to: CameronPeakFire@clvfd.org
IN AN EMERGENCY
CALL 9-1-1 FOR ASSISTANCE
For the safety of the community, Crystal Lakes Associations has evacuations sirens posted throughout the Association. The evacuation siren in case of failure of the dam is located near the Wapiti Mailsheds to cover the floodplain area and sounds like this whoop sound:
Property owners in the floodplain should evacuate immediately if they hear this siren; all other property owners should remain on their lots, to keep the roads clear for those evacuating the floodplain. Sirens in ALL parts of the association will sound the fire evacuation siren if a wildfire threatens the community -- it sounds like this alert sound:
ALL property owners should evacuate IMMEDIATELY if they hear this siren. Emergency personnel will be on hand to help direct evacuating property owners out of the area.
Crystal Lakes Fire Protection District (CLFPD)
237 Blackfoot Road
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department (CLVPD)
237 Blackfoot Road
Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
Click here for a map.
For more information, feel free to contact us by telephone, email, or by using our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!
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