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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Preparation, Information, and Safety Message for Saturday 3/31/12:

Due to the National Weather Service forecast residents in the region near the fire are asked to remain prepared and vigilant.

You can view the announcement here: (http://jeffcosheriff1.blogspot.com/2012/03/saturdays-33112-weather-forecast.html)

There is no new evacuation order going out at this time but residents around the fire perimeter should take the responsible steps to be prepared to leave the area if necessary.

Residents are also asked to avoid the area near the fire perimeter as much as possible in order to allow emergency vehicles clear and safe access to the fire region. Should fire conditions change first responders will need safe and rapid access to the fire area.

Safety is our top priority. Do your part to remain responsibly prepared, informed and safe.

The Incident Management Team will remain in close contact with the National Weather Service (NWS) and will be notified immediately should the weather forecast change. We will continue to use every avenue available to us to disperse any information that is pertinent to your safety.

Jefferson County Opening Fire Disaster Recovery Center

Jefferson County is opening the Lower North Fork Fire Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Conifer tomorrow to assist residents whose homes and property are damaged by the fire.

The Fire Disaster Recovery Center is a one-stop location for community members to go for assistance and recovery information regarding the Lower North Fork Wildfire.

There will be agencies, departments and organizations available to answer questions; and there will be written information for community members to take for future reference.

For more information, call 303-271-4919.

Times for the DRC:
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1
9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday, April 2

Location: West Jefferson Middle School, 9449 West Barnes Avenue, Conifer, Colorado

The Jefferson County Commissioners have invited several agencies, departments and organizations to participate. The following have confirmed that they will have representatives at the Disaster Recovery Center:

  • American Red Cross

  • Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Emergency Management and Division of Local Government

  • Colorado Department of Natural Resources

  • Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance and local insurance carriers

  • Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (COVOAD)
    Jefferson Center for Mental Health

  • Jefferson County Building Division

  • Jefferson County Commissioners and County Administrator

  • Jefferson County Human Services

  • Jefferson County Public Health

  • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control

  • Mountain Resource Center

  • Salvation Army

The Church of the Brethren will provide child care to community members while at the Disaster Recovery Center.

Sheriff Orders Fire Ban for all Areas of Unincorporated Jefferson County

Jefferson County, Co. – Effective on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 3 p.m., a fire ban will be implemented for all areas of unincorporated Jefferson County.

These restrictions are intended to reduce the likelihood of human caused wildfires.

This temporary fire ban, dated and executed below, supersedes all previous fire restrictions and fire bans. This order applies to all lands in unincorporated Jefferson County, to include all federal lands.

Because of continuing high fire danger conditions in Jefferson County, the following activities are strictly prohibited:

1. Anything which produces an open flame or has the potential to create an uncontrolled fire.

2. Building, maintaining, attending, or using any fire to burn trash, debris, fence rows or vegetation, or any campfire or warming fire.

3. Use of charcoal or other open fires on any public or private lands.

4. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, or while stopped in an area of at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all combustible material.

5. Operating a chain saw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arresting device properly installed and in effective working order, and having a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher of not less than eight (8) ounces capacity by weight, and possessing one large size pointed shovel with an overall length of at least thirty-six (36) inches. The extinguisher shall be with the chain saw operator. The shovel may be kept with the fueling supplies, but readily available for quick use.

6. Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame, except within an area that is barren or cleared of all combustible material at least ten feet on all sides from the equipment.

7. Use of an explosive initiation system requiring a burning fuse line.

8. Permissible fireworks, as defined by Colorado Revised Statutes, 12-28-101.
Exemptions to this temporary fire ban are listed below:

1. Persons with a valid written permit from the Sheriff and/or the local fire department which specifically authorizes the prohibited act.

2. Any federal, state, or local law enforcement officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

3. Any fires contained within liquid fueled or gas fueled stoves.

NOTE: Burn permits issued and not executed prior to the effective date of this temporary fire
ban shall not be authorized unless one of the exemptions listed above applies.

Exemptions to this temporary fire ban shall be granted within non-federal land only by the Sheriff, and/or the local fire department only if the proposed action is deemed by the Sheriff and/or the local fire department or district to be safe and mitigable. 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 the 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 section(s) 102.8 and 308.2.1 of the International Fire Code.

This temporary fire ban becomes effective at 3 p.m. on March 30, 2012 and shall remain in effect until superseded or rescinded.

Saturday's (3/31/12) Weather Forecast

Saturday Weather Forecast as of 3/30/12 at 1500 Hours (3:00 PM)

The National Weather Service (NWS) has advised the Lower North Fork Fire Incident Management Team that a Red Flag warning will go into effect tomorrow, Saturday 3/31/12, at noon.

The following forecast was released by the NWS:

“Red Flag Warning in effect from noon to 8 PM MDT Saturday…An upper level ridge will cover Colorado now through Saturday. By Saturday night…southwesterly flow aloft will be on the increase…continuing into Sunday night. An upper trough will push across Colorado through mid day Monday. Winds are expected to increase over the Burn area on Saturday and continue fairly strong Saturday night and Sunday. With the upper trough approaching Sunday night…winds will decrease. Behind the trough on Monday…cooler…more moist weather is expected.”

Continue to follow www.jeffcosheriff1.blogspot.com for additional information.

Citizen and Media Briefings For Saturday 3/31/12:

There are no scheduled media or citizen briefings set for Saturday morning. There will be briefings in the afternoon.

The time of those briefings will be determined after weather conditions are fully assessed.

An update regarding expected conditions will be posted on this website shortly.

Due to the potential change in weather conditions there will be no media tour of the fire zone on Saturday 3/31/12.

We will share (via this blog and via the our twitter account @jeffcosheriffco) the time and location of the afternoon briefings as soon as they have firmly been set.

Lower North Fork Firefighters Appreciate Donations

Over 100 firefighters will rest easier tonight with a new pillow.

Bed, Bath & Beyond donated 104 pillows to firefighters working the Lower North Fork Fire in Conifer, Colorado. The pillows were among many donations from the community.

The firefighters and Incident Management Team would like to thank the following business for the kind and generous donations:

· Angry Llama
· Starbucks
· JJ Madwells
· Conifer Chamber of Commerce
· Cabin Creek
· Beaver Ranch
· Chick-Fil-A
· InStar Restoration
· King Soopers
· Coffee Shack
· Bed, Bath & Beyond

These donations allowed the firefighters to focus on firefighting efforts, rest and preparation for renewed attack on the fireline. The firefighters appreciate these donations and the continued support of the community.

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/30/12 1900:

Over 550 firefighters attacked the fire from the ground today. These responders worked hard to extend established containment lines. The fire is now 70% contained with only 3.5 miles of containment line left to build.

Today’s observed fire behavior was creeping ground fire with smoldering in the areas of heavier fuels.

Fire crews are still combating steep and rugged terrain. Low humidity and high quantities of unusually dry fuels continue to be a factor on the fire. Forecasts are indicating that Red Flag conditions may be present on Saturday and Sunday.

These conditions have contributed to the decision to not lift the evacuation orders for the 180 homes in the Kuehster, Critchell, and Maxwell Hill neighborhoods.

The planned fire fighting strategy for tomorrow will include continuing to construct and improve containment lines while also continuing mop up efforts. Evacuation zones will be reevaluated as conditions change.

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/30/11 1600:

Major progress was made establishing containment lines around the fire today. The fire acreage remains at 4140 acres.

The containment line is now at 70%.

Evacuation orders for the 180 homes in the Kuehster, Critchell, and Maxwell Hill neighborhoods have not been lifted.

The Urban Search and Rescue team has continued the search for Ann Appel. They have covered 150 acres just today. The total number of acres which they have searched is 360 acres.

The Intermountain Rural Electric Association is continuing to repair damaged power lines. According to the IREA a total of 267 homes lost power as a result of the fire. They have managed to restore power to 211 homes and will continue to work to restore power to the remaining 56 homes as conditions allow.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has utilized 9 patrol vehicles for the specific purpose of temporarily escorting evacuees to their property. As of 3:00 PM Sheriff's Deputies had escorted evacuees back into 30 properties. The Sheriff’s Office will continue the escorts beginning at 8:00 AM tomorrow. Residents should call the following numbers to set up an appointment: 720-454-4968 & 303-271-4930. Residents must set up an appointment before they can be escorted beyond the fire perimeter. Appointments will be made on a first come first served basis.

Updated Maps Showing Perimeter and Containment Lines

The following are maps showing the Lower North Fork Fire perimeter and containment lines.

The date and time stamp on the upper right corner of each map is the date and time the map was printed.

The data shown on these maps is accurate as of 3/29/12 at 10:00 PM

Scheduled Media Tour Cancelled for Today, 3/30/12

Today's media tour of the Lower North Fork Fire has been cancelled due to limited resources and safety concerns.

A media briefing at Conifer High School is still scheduled for 4:00 PM.

Next Media Briefing Scheduled for 3/30/12 at 4:00 PM

The next media briefing will take place at Conifer High School at 4:00 PM.

Updated Map Showing Perimeter of Fire as of 3/29/12 at 2200

The Lower North Fork Fire map has been updated with an accurate perimeter line as of 3/29/12 at 2200 hrs. Click on the link below to see a larger map with greater detail.

Be advised that road open/closed status could change with little or no notice due to current conditions on the ground.

This map does not show which areas on the fire perimeter have been contained. We are working to provide that information as soon as possible

View Lower North Fork Wildfire in a larger map

Red Cross to Close Shelter, Transition to Recovery Operations

[Conifer, CO – March 30, 2012] – The American Red Cross will end sheltering operations at West Jefferson Middle School at noon today and will transition to helping residents affected by the Lower North Fork Fire with their recovery.

Two evacuated residents stayed at the shelter overnight last night, down from 14 the night of March 28. The Red Cross, through its partnership with Journey Christian Church, served breakfast this morning and will serve lunch today.

Red Cross caseworkers will be at West Jefferson Middle School from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Saturday to meet with any residents affected by the wildfire and start the process of planning for their recovery. Residents affected by the wildfire may also call (303) 722-7474, option 2, and request to speak with casework or leave a message for casework with their name, phone number and address, and the best time to reach them.

Resident briefings by the Incident Management Team will also continue to be given at the middle school at regular times, but will take place in the lobby instead of the cafeteria.

The Red Cross is prepared to return to sheltering operations if conditions change and residents are re-evacuated.
Lower North Fork Fire Red Cross Response by the numbers (3/26 through 3/29):
- 55 total overnight stays
- 1094 meals served
-1400 snacks served
- 20 clean-up kits distributed
- 50 volunteers & employees participated in response
- 40 Health Services contacts (helping with medications, oxygen, etc.)
- 300 firefighter comfort kits distributed

Posted with permission directly from the Red Cross Website: http://www.coloradoredcross.org/detalle_noticias.asp?id=11669&IdCapitulo=Q4Q26NY21N

Lower North Fork Fire Donation Update 3/30/12 1107

Specific donations are being requested to assist the families impacted by the Lower North Fork Fire. 100% of the items donated will go directly to the families impacted and displaced by the fire.

Mountain Resource Center, a local community center in Conifer, located at 11030 Kitty Dr., has agreed to accept the following items Monday-Friday 9-5 and this Saturday and Sunday from 9-2:

• Cash or checks- checks may be mailed to Mountain Resource Center, P.O. Box 425 Conifer, CO 80433

• Financial donations may be made at www.mrcco.org

• Gift cards in small denominations of $15-25.00 (Target, Wal-Mart, local grocery stores and gas stations)

• Pantry food items that are non-perishable

• Those wishing to donate furniture or appliances are asked to contact the center directly at 303-838-7552 or email info@mrcco.org. Mountain Resource Center is not able to accept furniture at this time but will coordinate requests with community members wishing to donate.

• Mountain Resource Center is not able to accept clothing items at this time.

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/30/12 0940

Additional telephone number for affected residents

An additional telephone number for affected residents within the Lower North Fork Fire evacuation zone has been set up. If the original telephone number, 720-454-4968 is busy, please call 303-271-4930 to set up an appointment.

Lower North Fork Fire Update 3/30/12 0913

Firefighting crews continue to make strong progress containing the Lower North Fork Fire.

Today’s firefighting strategy will be focused on increasing the containment line as well as working on mopping up spot fires; specifically those located on the North East side of the fire.

Fire crews are working diligently to strengthen the fire containment line in order to prepare for increased winds that may begin to take shape Saturday evening going into Sunday. Contingency plans have been put in place in the event that those winds cause the fire to jump the existing and future containment lines.

A total of five other helicopters will continue to assist firefighters from the air. The four Blackhawk helicopters that were used yesterday are no longer needed and have returned back to Buckley Airforce Base. Over 500 firefighters continue to fight the fire from the ground.

The Urban Search and Rescue Team will continue to search for the missing person, Ann Appel. The USAR team will also be conducting a more intensive search of Appel's last known location. The team has already combed over 219 acres with today’s goal of searching an additional 80 acres. The Appel family has asked that the media respect their privacy and refrain from contacting them directly.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office will continue escorting the remaining evacuees into their neighborhoods for a quick inspection of their homes. By appointment only, this will take place on a first come first served basis between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM daily until those who are interested in participating have done so. Affected resident may call 720-454-4968 to set up an appointment. The Sheriff's Office will attempt to try to escort in approximately 40 property owners per day.

The Red Cross Shelter at West Jefferson Middle School will be transitioning from an evacuation shelter to a disaster recovery center. This transition will take place at approximately 1200 today.

The US Post Office in Aspen Park is holding mail for those residents with homes in the evacuation area. Evacuees, with appropriate identification, are welcome to pick up their mail during business hours.

Century Link and the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) have had the opportunity to evaluate utility damage within the fire zone. They will continue to make repairs as rapidly as conditions allow.

Continue to follow www.jeffcosheriff1.blogspot.com for further updates. You can also follow us on Twitter via @jeffcosheriffco.

Weather Forecast from the National Weather Service

Weather Forecast for the Lower North Fork Fire Region
As available at: http://www.weather.gov/

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 63. West wind between 3 and 8 mph.
Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 45. West wind between 7 and 13 mph.
Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 70. West southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south southeast. Winds could gust as high as 16 mph.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44. Breezy, with a west southwest wind between 9 and 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 65. Breezy, with a southwest wind between 6 and 16 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Sunday Night: A slight chance of rain before midnight, then a chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. Chance of precipitation is 40%.