Frequently Asked Questions about the Waldo Canyon Fire
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Q: Who is responsible for removing debris from the areas affected by the fire, including homes?
A: Public Right of Way: In an emergency or in the interest of public safety during the Waldo Canyon Fire Recovery, the City Streets Division will be responsible for keeping the roadway accessible and free of debris. Damaged or unsafe items that obstruct the roadway will be removed by the Streets Division and should be reported to (719) 385-5934. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to remove and dispose of material or debris located on private property. Please do not place debris from private property into the roadway. As a reminder, placing items in roadways presents a hazard for motorists (especially at night) and is prohibited as outlined in 10.23.110 Foreign Matter on Streets or Highways.
Further note on personal property: On a standard individual homeowner policy, there is a certain percentage each individual typically has for debris cleanup (typically it is 10%). So, on a $400K home, that would be $40K. From their years of catastrophe management, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association strongly recommends that each individual homeowner handle their own personal property debris clean-up.
Q: What does 'active fire' mean?
A: Live embers and spot fires which are capable of producing larger, spreading fires
Q: What does 'visible damage' to structure mean?
A: Interior or exterior damage that can be easily seen by crews
Q: What does 'destroyed' structure mean?
A: Uninhabitable to humans
Q: What about interior damage? Have police or fire department personnel walked through my house?
A: Interior damage was assessed only when conditions warranted, i.e. firefighters saw smoke coming from the home.
Q: What is a ‘contained’ fire?
A: The fire is under control, even if it is still burning within the ‘black line’.
Q: What is the ‘black line’?
A: A control line around the fire which contains no unburned fuel.
Q: How will you communicate with me?
A: Through regular e-mail and voice-mail to all who registered on Springsgov.com; postings on Springsgov.com; possible updates by citizens on neighborhood Facebook sites.
Re-entering the neighborhood:
Q: When can we move back into our standing home?
A: We cannot provide this information at this time and it will vary depending on site conditions. We understand the urgency to return to your home and will announce additional areas cleared for re-entry as soon as conditions are safe to do so..
Q: When can we access our destroyed home to retrieve personal property?
A: Site visit days are being scheduled to access those areas still evacuated. The first was held Sunday, July 1 and the second was held Thursday, July 5. We will schedule additional days as needed.
Q: Can I remove personal belongings from my home in the fire damaged area?
A: You may remove personal belongings during the scheduled re-entry days if your house is safe to enter, i.e. not behind police tape.
Q: How can you prohibit access to our homes? Doesn't ColoradoState Policy protect personal property rights?
A: Simply put, the City has the authority to establish an emergency evacuation area and enforce those boundaries until the emergency is over. At this time, there is an ongoing emergency situation in this evacuation area. See explanation of statute below.
Section 8.7.107(A) allows for the Mayor, Fire Chief, Director of Emergency Management and the Chief of Police “to order any person to evacuate any premises, vehicle or other real or personal property located within City limits, or in any area under the control of the City in its home rule capacity, for any period up to an including the duration of the emergency.” Additionally, subparagraph (B) states, “[i]t shall be unlawful to reenter an evacuated area without permission of the evacuating authority. Any person violating this section shall be subject to immediate arrest and removal by police, fire or any emergency management personnel deployed to assist the City during any emergency.”
Q: How are we preventing looting and other criminal activity?
A: Police are patrolling the evacuated area and protecting the perimeter of the neighborhoods. The National Guard will provide additional support for this effort.
Q: Can I hire an off duty police officer to patrol my home?
A: Not at this time.
Q: If my home is broken into will I be notified?
A: Yes, police will follow standard procedures.
Disaster Recovery Center:
Q: When will the Disaster Recovery Center open?
A: The DRC opened at 9:00am Saturday, June 30. The hours will be 9:00am-7:00pm, daily (9-1 on July 4).
Q: Who will pay for my water bill? How do I stop automatic billing?
A: Utilities will work to remove charges from bills from the start date of the fire. Billing will recommence as utilities are restored.
Q: When will all Utilities services be restored?
A: Please visit www.csu.org for all of the information related to Utilities’ work and scheduling information. When you return to your home, follow any directions left on placards at your residence. They are individualized for each residence.
Q: How will my 2012 property taxes be impacted if I lost my home or have significant damage to my home from the fire?
A: For all questions related to property taxes and assessed value of your home please contact El Paso County Assessor's Office at (719) 520-6600, www.elpasoco.com.
Q: What is the process for bringing in agencies and assessors?
A: Adjusters can access the evacuated areas during the scheduled visit day on July 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. if they are traveling with a homeowner or have identification showing they work for an insurance company. There will also be adjusters available at the Disaster Recovery Center.
Q: Where can I pick up FedEx packages?
A: See link-- http://www.fedex.com/us/servicealerts/alert_all.html
Q: Where is my mail being delivered?
A: See link--