If you or someone close to you has a disability or requires special assistance, please call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 303-271-0211. In an emergency, always dial 911.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Social Media Information Outreach

We will continue to provide updates via the Jefferson County Emergency blog (www.jeffcosheriff1.blogspot.com). We will also continue to post updates via twitter using @JeffcoSheriffCo.

Don’t have a twitter account? Or don’t know how to use twitter? All you have to do is visit www.twitter.com/jeffcosheriffco . Click on the link and you will see all of our recent updates (tweets). You do not have to create an account to see the tweets.

The beginning of any incident is typically the busiest and most information filled period. As such our social media engagement during the last few days has been high. As the incident goes forward and becomes more stable the need for rapid updates will slow relative to our prior pace. This means that the frequency of our posts and tweets will slowly decrease in proportion with how stable the incident is. Be assured that we will do everything in our power to continue to post and tweet each pertinent update in a timely fashion.

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/28/12 2125:

Progress continues to be made fighting the Lower North Fork Fire.
49,000 gallons of water have been dumped on the fire via the Colorado National Guard Blackhawk helicopters.

The two Heavy Tanker planes have been pulled off the Lower North Fork Fire in order to respond to fires in South Dakota. The Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT) is still available to dump fire retardant.

The Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) is arriving and providing additional resources and man power. The official transition from the Jefferson County type 3 IMT to the type 1 IMT will take place at 6:00 AM. The type 3 IMT team will continue to work with the Type 1 team after the transition.

Thursday's morning media briefing is scheduled for 7 AM at Conifer High School.

Updated Map of Lower North Fork Fire

View an updated map of the Lower North Fork Fire. This map was update at approximately 3:30 p.m. on March 28.

The Google Map is still Valid as Well:

View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map

Citizen Briefings Scheduled for Tomorrow (3/29/12)

Three citizen briefings have been scheduled for tomorrow (3/29/12).

All three briefings will be attended by an Incident Management Team Public Information Officer and will take place at the West Jefferson Middle School. The times are 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

PIO no longer at Highway 285 and Kitty Road: 3/28/12 1830:

The Public Informatin Officer that was staged at the Staples parking lot, located at highway 285 and Kitty Road, is no longer at that location.

Update from Intermountain Rural Electric Association:

A representative from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) was present at the citizen briefing that took place at 5:00 PM on 3/28/12.

The representative said that they have confirmed that 267 structures are without power. They estimate that they must rebuild 2-3 miles of electric line.

The priority for IREA is getting power back to those homes without power. IREA will update their website (http://www.intermountain-rea.com/) with any new information.

Conifer High School is Closed to the General Public

The Incident Management Team (IMT) is headquartered at Conifer High School. The school is also lodging and feeding the 500 plus personnel who are fighting the fire. In order to allow the IMT to function efficiently and also to allow the firefighters to rest and recover the Conifer High School is closed to the general public. Media may still stage in the parking lot.

Residence seeking information about the status of their property within the fire evacuation zone may come to the High School. Residence are also encouraged to seek information at the Red Cross shelter at W. Jefferson Middle School as well as via the Jeffco emergency blog (www.jeffcosheriff1.blogspot.com) and @JeffcoSheriffCo on Twitter.

Lower North Fork Fire Update: 3/28/12 1700:

Fire crews, consisting of 500 individuals, have had a relatively successful day cutting fire line and establishing containment. The estimated size of the fire line that must be built is 8.5 miles long. Minimal perimeter growth is expected over the next 24 hours due to expected weather conditions.

Two Heavy air Tankers remain on site for air operations. 3 National Guard Blackhawks and one additional Helicopter have also been actively engaging the fire from the air.

Urban Search and Rescue Team continues to search for the one known missing person. The crew has searched over 60 acres of property surrounding the woman’s residence which is her last known location. The team is continuing to search even as this update is typed. There are also crews at the home site digging through the rubble to attempt to locate any sign of the missing person. The scene is still extremely hot and difficult to work within.

We are always reevaluating current evacuation areas to determine if it is safe for residence to return home. That said, none of the existing evacuation orders have been lifted.

A citizen briefing is taking place at the West Jefferson Middle School, starting at 5:00 PM.

Lower North Fork Fire Update: 3/28/12 1630:

The Lower North Fork Fire is now 15% Contained

Firefighter crews have been able to achieve 15% containment on the fire. The current affected area has been updated to 4140 acres. Air crews have dropped over 4100 gallons of retardant on the fire today.

The number of damaged structures remains at 27. We have been able to notify owners of 26 of the structures.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office provided an opportunity to those owners of confirmed impacted homes to be escorted to their residences earlier today.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team is still focused on finding the sole known missing person.

A citizen briefing is still scheduled for 5:00 PM at the W. Jefferson Middle School.

Media Briefing Scheduled for 3/28/12 at 4:00 PM

A media briefing is scheduled for 4:00 PM at the Conifer High School parking lot.

Resources to Help Children and Adults Cope with Disasters

Are your children having a difficult time dealing with the wildfires and the traumatic events surrounding the current situation in their lives? Do you need assistance dealing with the stress that occurs during disasters? This is a normal part of the recovery process involving wildfires and disasters.

Use these resources to help those involved with the Lower North Fork Fire:

Map Update Showing PIO Location 3/28/12 1200:

View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/28/12 1145

Lower North Fork Fire Information

An Incident Management Team Public Information Officer is at the Staples Parking Lot located at US Highway 285 and Kitty Drive to answer any questions. Feel free to stop by!

Lower North Fork Fire Photos 3/28/12 1120

Photos of Sheriff Ted Mink addressing the public at the Conifer High School public forum on 3/27/2012

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/28/12 1135:

Urban Search and Rescue Team Focused on Searching for Missing Woman
A Colorado State Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR), known as Task Force 1, is concentrating its efforts on finding the missing woman that was identified yesterday. The team is made up of 32 persons and 6 search canines. The search will begin at the females last known location, which is a home inside the fire zone. We have confirmed that the home was destroyed by the fire.

We have reduced the number of damaged structures from 28 to 27. This change has been made because after further review one of the recorded addresses was not accurate. As of this update we have contacted the owners of 10 of those structures. We are actively working to identify the owners of the additional structures.

Patrol units from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are working directly with the families who have lost their homes. They are starting to do police escorts into those homes. This only applies to the homeowners whose structures we have confirmed have been damaged.

Acreage Update
: The affected acreage as of 3/27/12 at 2030 is 3790. Previously we had posted the estimated acreage at 4500. That number was an estimate, the 3790 acreage is a much more accurate number. Please know that by this number is as of yesterday at 10:30 PM. That number will most likely change throughout the day.

Lower North Fork Fire Photos 3/28/12 1100

Photos of Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia's visit on 3/27/2012

Temporary Fire Restrictions in Jeffco as of 3/27/12 at 5:00 PM

Press Release: Issued Yesterday
Jefferson County, Co. – These Temporary Fire Restrictions will become effective at 5:00 P.M. on March 27, 2012, and shall remain in effect until superseded or repealed. These restrictions apply to all lands in unincorporated Jefferson County. This includes a portion of the Arapahoe-Roosevelt Forest located in Jefferson County (off Brook Forest Road).

Pursuant to the Annual Operating Plan regarding the implementation of Fire Restrictions and Fire Bans; and due to the continuing high fire danger conditions within Jefferson County, the following activities are prohibited pursuant to Stage 1 restrictions:

1. Building, maintaining, attending or using any fire or campfire, except a fire within a permanently constructed fire grate in a developed park, campground or picnic area.
2. Sale, possessing, discharging or using any type of fireworks or other pyrotechnic device to include sparklers. This order does not differentiate between lawful use or careless/negligent use of fireworks, but prohibits all fireworks activity and use on public lands as identified above.
3. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area of at least three feet diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material.

NOTE: Burn permits issued and not executed prior to the effective date of these Temporary Fire Restrictions shall not be authorized unless approved by the issuing agency on the day of execution.

Exemptions approved under these Temporary Fire Restrictions:

• Persons with a valid written permit from the Sheriff or appropriate Fire Authority which specifically authorizes the prohibited act.

• Any Federal, State, or local Law Enforcement or Fire Officer acting in the performance of an official duty.

• Any fires contained within liquid fueled or gas fueled stoves. Charcoal grill fires at private residences.

• Campfires or bonfires required in religious ceremonies and for which a valid written permit has been granted in advance by the local Fire Department or District.

Individuals operating under any of the above exemptions shall take adequate measures to prevent uncontrolled fires. Possible measures include, but are not limited to:

A. Containers of adequate water or dry soil nearby.
B. Shovels, fire extinguishers, or other extinguishing agents nearby.
C. Coordination with the local Fire Department or District to be on scene or standby during an activity.

Pursuant to County Resolution CC 97-433, violations of these prohibitions, upon conviction, is punishable by a fine of not more than $600.00. Such act(s) violate sections 102.8 and 308.2.1 of the International Fire Code.

These Temporary Fire Restrictions will become effective at 5:00 P.M. on March 27, 2012, and shall remain in effect until superseded or repealed.

Follow us on Twitter at @jeffcosheriffco

Current Lower North Fork Fire Map 3/28/12:

View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map

Lower North Fork Fire Update: 3/28/12 0830

A PIO will present a citizen briefing at W. Jefferson Middle School at approximately 9:00 AM.

Overnight the fire was relatively stable. Fire crews made progress through the night in protecting structures. Today’s strategy is to gain containment around the fire while continuing to protect structures.

Today’s fire behavior is expected to be similar to yesterday but with slightly higher winds. The winds could result in more robust fire activity. The fire will also most likely become more intense as the temperature rises throughout the day. The fire has continued to exhibit a tendency to start spot fires in a wide area.

Our Incident Management Team Liaison Officer will be working with representatives from Century Link and Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) to evaluate current damages and to begin formulating a plan to restore services to affected areas.

The fire will be actively engaged from the air today. The air support resources available today include two Heavy P2V Tankers and one SEAT plane dropping fire retardant and four helicopters conducting water drops. These aircraft will be supported by additional command and observation planes. Additional resources are being ordered.

The weather forecast for today show winds becoming increasingly southwest with speeds in the 8-14 MPH range with gusts up to 20 MPH specifically around the higher ridges. Humidity is expected to drop relatively low by mid afternoon to around 10% or less.

The new command post location, at Conifer High School, is up and running. The Red Cross continues to host the evacuation shelter located at West Jefferson Middle School. A PIO will present a citizen briefing at W. Jefferson Middle School at approximately 9:00 AM.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will continue to man road blocks around the fire perimeter. At this time we are not allowing anyone back into the evacuated regions. We ask that you continue to avoid to area around the fire in order to allow for quick and safe traffic for emergency vehicles.

Lower North Fork Fire Update: 3/28/12 0645

Conditions on the fireline overnight were relatively stable.

Today's fire strategy will focus on moving from primarily point protection to establishing containment.

There will be a media update at 7:30 AM at Conifer High School Parking Lot.

Stay tuned to this blog for further updates. We will also be posting updates via @jeffcosheriffco on twitter.