SAN LUIS VALLEY — In light of recent events, the concern for the fire season and current fire danger continues to be a hot topic among local and state emergency agencies. After the fire that spread quickly along the north side of Monte Vista on Wednesday, April 20, local and state agencies took to the newswires and social media to warn people throughout Colorado about current conditions and their concern for wildfires.
The 17-acre blaze left six families without their homes and over 15 structures were burned or completely lost to the flames. Though the investigation continues, law enforcement in charge stated there were no signs of criminal or intentional ignition.
The City of Monte Vista and Rio Grande County signed “Declarations of Disaster” on Thursday, April 21, hoping to bring in additional resources for those affected by the fire.
Days before the fire in Monte Vista, Mineral County and Rio Grande County Emergency Managers Terry Wetherill and Art Wittner spoke about the fire season and what agencies are doing to prepare for it.
Wetherill spoke about the interagency work being done to plan for evacuation in the event of an emergency on Wolf Creek Pass as well as what state and local emergency departments would do to notify dispersed campers and outdoor recreationalists should a fire break out.
Wittner focused on what people can do to help mitigate fire around their homes and what they can do to aid emergency personnel in locating them in the event of a fire.
These two messages remain some of the most important to remember as the warm, dry season comes to the San Luis Valley.
Another message that bears repeating, according to local officials, is for residents and guests to stay up to date on fire bans and red flag warnings in their areas. Several red flag warnings are issued throughout the springtime in the San Luis Valley, and it is important on those days to refrain from burning in any shape or form. Burn permits are automatically suspended in the event of a red flag warning and are reissued under better weather advisories.
The South Fork Fire Rescue Facebook page is an appropriate source for information. It provides daily fire danger warnings, weather advisories and other pertinent information, and provides tips and tricks for homeowners and people looking for ways to be more fire aware. In the coming days, the page will be featuring ways to protect homes from fire ignition and what homeowners can do to help by cleaning out dead debris.
Another source here in the Valley is the SLV Emergency Facebook page. This page also provides up to date information about coming fire warnings and inclement weather.
It has also been recommended that people with summer homes or homes in the mountains update their information on the reverse 911 service through Everbridge. The reverse 911 allows law enforcement and emergency services to contact people in the area of an emergency and give warnings of events that may be occurring in the area. It is free and open to anyone. For more information or to update information, visit www.everbridge.com.