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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Final Blue Bell Fire Update

This will be the final blog post for the Blue Bell Fire incident.

The fire is 100% contained.  Firefighters will continue to be in the area for a few days as they complete the final mop up operations.

At 8 PM 6/4/13 all evacuation and road restrictions were lifted.

At 8 PM 6/4/13 the Jefferson County Incident Management Team passed control of the incident to Evergreen Fire.

An information line has been set up and will remain active as long as there is a need.  The recorded information line can be reached at 303-271-5800.

Additional information regarding this incident can be obtained via www.jeffcosheriff.com.

Thank you American Red Cross & Salvation Army Volunteers!

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have worked tirelessly to support the fire fighting efforts.

We have received a number of requests to provide resources to aid the incident response.  In lieu of resources we are asking that you consider donating to our partners at the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

You can find information regarding the American Red Cross here: http://www.redcross.org/support

You can find information regarding the local chapter of the Salvation Army here: http://www.imsalvationarmy.org/usw/www_usw_IM-20.nsf/vw-dynamic-index/B9260BA6BC57E9AC8825783F007D6485?openDocument

Thank You Fire Fighters!

At 8 PM tonight all evacuations and road restrictions will be lifted!

Blue Bell Fire Evening Update 6/4/13

All evacuation areas and road restrictions will be lifted at 8 p.m. tonight.

Crews have been very active on the fire lines today.  A containment line 100 feet wide is now in place around the fire perimeter.  The anticipated cold front has already arrived.  The front did not produce the winds that were anticipated and it is now aiding in the cooling of the fire.  Tonight the fire area will have a relative humidity of 85-95%.  Power has been restored to the entire area.

Based on the above information, all evacuations and road restrictions will be lifted at 8 p.m.  Residents are asked to use use care and caution as they reenter the area.  The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office will have deputies in the area to help facilitate the safe and orderly return to the region.

Today the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, along with Evergreen Fire, conducted a cause and origin investigation.  The investigative team has determined that a 48 foot tree came into contact with two power lines.  The tree acted as a ground wire, causing a fire to burn at the base of the tree.  This resulted in a two foot hole that burned into the ground and ignited a ground fire.   This fire became the Bluebell Fire.  The team's official report will be available for release in a few weeks.

The estimated size of the fire has been revised down to approximately 10 acres.

The current cost estimate for firefighting efforts is $80,000.

At 8 p.m. the Jefferson County Incident Management Team will pass the firefighting efforts back to Evergreen Fire Department.

Update from the Incident Commander

The following is an update provided by the Incident Commander Bill Easterling.

Incident Commander Bill Easterling opened the meeting by stating that the community "Should be proud and thankful to have Chief Weege" working with Evergreen Fire.  Yesterday and today 140 firefighters have been fighting the fire.  As a result no homes or structures have been lost.  There have also been no injuries to any of the fire fighters.

Easterling told the attendees that the goal is to get all homeowners back into their homes beginning at 8:00 PM.  He did caution that this was a goal but not a promise.  He stated that the decision to lift the mandatory evacuation will be made "if we feel it is safe enough for you to go home".  The Incident Commander defined safe by stating, "if it safe enough for you to shut your eyes and go to sleep tonight without worrying".

Easterling took some time to explain the difference between a containment line and a control line.  He stated that the fire is 100% contained but it is not controlled.  A containment line is a small line that surrounds the fire to help prevent fire spread.  A control line is a line that will prevent the fire from passing the line under any foreseeable circumstances.  There continues to be burning fire within the perimeter therefore it is important the line be a control line before lifting any additional evacuations.

The best way for homeowners to know when they can return?  Continue to follow on Twitter and on this blog.  Residents can also call 303-271-4930 to obtain this information.

The estimated fire size remains at 15-20 acres.  This number will be updated as accurate numbers come in from the field.

There are currently 360 homes without power.  The goal is to restore power by 8:00 PM prior to lifting the mandatory evacuation notice.  IREA does have a generator in the area to provide back up power to some homes.

The area supervisor for Century Link attended the meeting and stated that the infrastructure in the area is intact.  He provided his contact information in case anyone should have any questions: Tim Vanni: 303-596-9178.

Safety Precautions for Re-entry and Clean-up after Fire

•Use caution when bringing children and pregnant women into an area with ash and damaged structures until cleanup is completed. Do not leave children unattended at burned properties.

• Watch for repeated coughing, nausea, unusual fatigue or dizziness, particularly if there is a medical history of chronic lung disease (like asthma or COPD) or heart disease.

Don't breathe the ash from the fires. Ash can irritate your respiratory system. Adults should use a protective mask (N-95 or P-100) while in areas where ash particles cannot be controlled. N-95 masks must be properly fitted and are not designed for children or people with facial hair, subsequently they will not provide full protection.

Protective clothing is important: wear goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toes and insoles (not just steel shank), long sleeves, and long pants to avoid skin contact. Handle all burned plastics with gloves as possible toxins can come off the plastic.

Debris: Watch for broken glass, exposed: wires, nails, wood, metal, plastic, falling trees and tree limbs.

• Watch for Ash Pits and mark them for safety. Ash pits are holes of hot or cold ashes, created by burned trees and stumps. Falling into ash pits can cause burns and/or injuries.

• Get a Tetanus shot if you have not had a booster in the last 10 years or cannot remember when your last shot was. Contact your healthcare provider or JCPH at 303-232-6301for more information.

Food Products

If you are not certain food is safe, throw it out!

·         Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
·         Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.

How to determine if food from the refrigerator and freezer is safe to eat:

·         Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
·         If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.

·         If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to
determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.

·         Keep in mind that perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if onsumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.

For more information please visit:

Centers for Disease Control

Food & Drug Administration


Emergency Access into the Evacuated Area

The current goal is to allow everyone back into their homes later this evening.

Citizens who live within the mandatory evacuation area and have a critical or emergent need may request a deputy to escort them temporarily into and out of their homes.

Residents requesting access emergent access to the area must call 303-271-4930 to make an appointment with a deputy.  Residents will meet with the deputy at Evergreen High School at the appointed time.  Please do not go to Evergreen High School if you have not already scheduled your appointment.

Animal Control will be available to assist homeowners with any critical animal needs.  Any animal related needs should be communicated when scheduling the appointment.

The home visits will be limited to 15 minutes. 

These escorts are for residents only and are not being offered to media.

Please be advised that every appointment is contingent upon the weather and fire behavior.  The appointments may be cancelled at any time for safety reasons.

Additional Blue Bell Fire Map Images

Here are some additional maps. These can also be viewed on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jeffersoncountysheriff.

TCP = Traffic Control Points
The green area is the area under mandatory evacuation.The red area is a rough fire perimeter.


Updated Blue Bell Fire Google Map

The google map has been updated to show the road closures.  The dark red is still under a mandatory evacuation area.  The orange roads are open to residents only.

Here is the direct link to the map:

View Blue Bell Fire in a larger map

Citizen Briefing: 1:30 PM Conifer High School

A citizen briefing will be held at Conifer High School at 1:30 PM.

Public Information Officers as well as the  Blue Bell Fire Incident Commander, Bill Easterling, and Evergreen Fire Chief Weege, will be on site to provide information and answer citizen questions.

This briefing will be for residents only.

The next media briefing will take place later this afternoon.    

We will tweet the time and location as soon as it is determined.

Animal Rescue and Shelter Operations

The Jefferson County Animal Rescue Team (JCART) has been actively involved throughout the Blue Bell Fire.  Many animals, large and small, were evacuated by the JCART along side with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Animal Control.

This picture was taken inside an Animal Control truck. This 'new admin assistant' “Mautzie” was evacuated from Snowshoe Trail early on during the fire.

Current Animal Rescue and Shelter Numbers:
The Jefferson County Fairgrounds housed 36 horses and 16 alpacas overnight.
The Foothills Animal Shelter housed 65 dogs, cats and other small animals. 
The Conifer High School shelters housed 3 cats.

The JCART team continues to have 50 volunteers on standby.  There are two active Animal Control units currently working around the fire evacuation area.

Fire Size and Investigation

The estimated fire size is now 15 acres.  This number will continue to change as more accurate numbers are obtained from the field.  All of the firefighters on the ground are from the local area.  The responding departments include 

Evergreen Fire Rescue
North Fork FireElk Creek FireFoothills Fire and RescueInter-canyon Fire/RescueIndian Hills Fire/Rescue
The Juniper Valley Crew is also on scene assisting the local firefighters.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office will be working with the Evergreen Fire Department to initiate a fire cause and origin investigation. The investigation is underway and will take a number of days to complete.

Morning briefing

Sent from my iPhone

Morning briefing

Sent from my iPhone

Morning briefing

Sent from my iPhone

Blue Bell Fire Morning Update 6/4/13

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Jefferson County Incident Management Team received a number of briefings this morning.

Approximately 100 personnel are currently involved in fighting the Blue Bell fire.  Firefighters remained on the fire through the evening and into the morning.  These firefighters were actively digging line and fighting the fire throughout the night.

Despite the overnight cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity, the fire continued to to actively burn inside the perimeter - primarily within the areas of heavier fuel.  A number of flare ups were observed and fought throughout the night.  Firefighters were able to manage those flare ups and as a result they prevented the fire from spreading beyond the simple containment lines that have been dug around the entire fire.

This morning the fire is laying down, but the area is still heavily covered in smoke.  This is an indicator that the heavy fuels are continuing to burn and that there is a great amount of fire heat within the fire perimeter.  As a result, the primary goal for the firefighters today is to expand the simple containment line to a full control line.  This will be done by creating an approximate 200 foot control line all the way around the fire.   The Type II Helicopter will continue to be on scene and available to assist the fire fighters on the ground as they create this control line.

Due to the presence of heavy fuels the public can expect to see smoke potentially as far out as a week - even as containment and control continues to be increased.

The weather will play an important role today.  Temperatures are expected to be cooler than yesterday with a maximum temp ranging from 63-73 degrees.  Firefighters will be watching incoming weather patterns that may take shape in the afternoon.  These patterns may include increased winds, thunderstorms and lightning.

The mandatory evacuation area from last night has not changed.  Roads north of Hemlock Lane off of Brook Forest Drive remain closed to all public.  A number of other roads in the area will be limited to 'residents only'. The Jefferson County Sheriff's office will be in the area to facilitate the ongoing road restrictions and closures.  The public is asked to avoid the area in order to allow firefighters safe and efficient access to the area.

The evacuation shelter at Conifer High School remains open and is being operated by the American Red Cross.  The Salvation Army is supporting the incident operations at the Evergreen Fire Headquarters.

Stay tuned to this blog and to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Twitter page for additional updates.

Firefighter was close to retardant drop

Sent from my iPhone