Earlier this week, a wildfire near Denver Colorado killed three people, destroyed 24 houses while burning six square miles. The fire apparently grew out of a controlled burn.
As smoke and flames grew, several people called 911 to report the event and were told this was a controlled burn and firefighters were on the scene and no danger was present. Evacuations were not ordered for another 2 ½ hours. Much criticism has been directed to authorities. I will leave any blame to the results of an upcoming investigation.
The reality is, authorities may not always have the most up to date information. We need to sty alert. Several residents observed the fire and smoke was far more then a controlled burn and started evacuating. Others also called 911, listened to the assurances nothing was wrong and took no action until later.
We need to square up what we see, with official reports. According to press reports when several residents insisted this was no controlled burn that an additional alarm was raised.
Specific information is critical. Some calls were general stating there was smoke and fire visible. Others were far more specific stating exactly where the fire was, this information alerted offices that the fire was in fact out of control.
When automated evacuation calls started, not everyone received a call. One person who didn’t receive an evacuation order checked when the fires came closer, and was told, “If you didn’t receive a call, you don’t need to evacuate.” Fortunately, the family departed shortly, later returning to a burned out home.
Not every warning will be trumpeted first by authorities. We need to be ready, alert and willing to act. Insure you develop your emergency operations plan for your family, you can start here: http://bit.ly/GVpW91