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Wildfire map: west side of Colorado Springs could be next

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 22 2014 06:29:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 22 2014 08:08:24 PM CDT

Colorado Springs released this season's Wildfire Urban Interface Map. It shows which areas are most at risk for a wildfire.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Wildfires threaten our cities every summer.  So who's next?

Colorado Springs released this season's Wildfire Urban Interface Map. It shows which areas are most at risk for a wildfire. According to the map, the west side of town is at the biggest risk for a wildfire.

Cheyenne Canyon is one of the places on that map. Dry shrubs and dead trees are fuel for wildfires. The Colorado Springs prepared for the very worst.

Two years ago, it was Waldo Canyon.

"I don't know if I would say that all risk is gone around those areas because there's gonna be pockets of unburned vegetation and those kind of things,” said Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey.

Last summer, Black Forest went up in flames.

This year's Wildfire Urban Interface Map shows the west side of town is at the biggest risk for a wildfire.

"We are a little concerned that our turn might be next," said Cheyenne Canyon resident Rich Klaber.

Cheyenne Canyon is on this season's wildfire mitigation map. Fire experts say the area could be where the next wildfire starts, and the fire could spread down to the neighborhoods surrounding The Broadmoor.

"Since we have a lot of trees and things like that, there's obviously a lot of concern that it would just come right through and it be very difficult to stop it,” said Klaber.  

Fire Marshal Lacey says the last severe fire on Cheyenne Mountain was in the early 1950's.

"The opportunity down there is certainly right and that's why were strongly encouraging everybody to do what they can with regard to wildfire mitigation in that area,” he said.

Colorado Springs Fire Chief Chris Riley said we've had a fairly dry winter. Things are very dry out there. We have fuels that are very, very hazardous, he said.

"We've actually had the fire department out and done a little bit of mitigation. They had recommending getting the mulch off of our houses. We've done a little bit of that. We put in a little bit more rocks,” said Klaber.

As the fire department puts it, fighting the potential for a wildfire is a shared responsibility.

"Getting through this fire season without anything catastrophic hopefully is going to be a team effort on everybody's part,” said Chief Riley.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department is hosting a community awareness meeting on Thursday, April 24 at Cheyenne Mountain High School at 6:30 p.m. regarding mitigation. Chief Riley says he encourages the entire Colorado Springs area to attend the meeting. Here’s a link to the Wildfire Mitigation Map. 

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