by Pam Zubeck
As winds blast and temperatures rise, further complicating efforts to battle the Black Forest Fire, the city of Colorado Springs has issued a voluntary evacuation order for the northern part of the city.
The evac area includes an area west to Interstate 25 and all areas north of Old Ranch Road within the city limits.
Voluntary indicates that the fire is moving closer and that a mandatory order may be issued at any time. Residents should prepare for evacuation. Those who feel they face complications or need assistance in evacuating should start to leave now, according to the city.
Be sure to take essential items—medicine, special foods, personal items, baby supplies, clothing, money, and valuable papers — but do not overload your vehicle. Families are encouraged to take only one vehicle to avoid congesting the evacuation routes. Secure your home before you leave. Be sure to check on any neighbors who may need assistance.
Residents who cannot stay with family or friends outside the evacuation area, go to one of the shelters listed below:
· Palmer Ridge High School- 19255 Monument Hill Rd, Monument
Pets will not be allowed in the shelters. If residents cannot make arrangements for someone outside the evacuation area to take care of their pet the following places may be able to house their animal:
· Powers Pet Emergency- Powers and Stetson Hills — Offering small animal assistance, medical & kennel. Ph (719) 473-0482
· Falcon Animal Hospital- Phone (719) 495-1457, is now accepting dogs and cats. Address: 860 Swing Line Road.
Do not allow pet to run loose. If residents cannot make arrangements for your large animals the following places may be able to provide assistance:
Large Animal Shelters:
· Elbert County Fairgrounds (95 Ute Avenue, Kiowa, CO. 303-718-3343).
· El Paso County Fairgrounds in Calhan is now accepting evacuated large animals.
Residents with no means of transportation or who are physically unable to evacuate on their own, should ask a neighbor to assist them or call the following number: (719) 444-7000.
“BE READY!” If you are not in the current evacuation or pre-evacuation areas there is currently no immediate danger to your home, family, or business, but the fire is growing and may be moving toward you as weather and wind conditions change. Now is the time to get ready. Refine your evacuation plans, and gather the things you’ll need if you must evacuate.
It is imperative that all citizens stay away from all evacuated areas. Please do not stop in these areas for any reason as it can endanger evacuees and emergency personnel.