Vail, Eagle County fire officials on high alert as wildfires flare up across Colorado

By Real Vail
Real AspenJune 21, 2013
With a National Weather Service red flag warning in effect for much of the Western Slope of Colorado, including Eagle County, local fire officials Friday are asking homeowners to prepare themselves for the possibility of wildfires like the ones ravaging other areas of the state.

The Vail Fire Department is hosting the final installment in its “Ready, Set, Go!” fire awareness workshop on Wednesday, June 26 at Vail Fire Station No. 3 in West Vail. It’s a wildfire action planning program developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and it’s free and open to the public.

The deadly Black Forest Fire in El Paso County (El Paso County photo).

Meanwhile, property owners throughout surrounding Eagle County should be taking similar steps to develop defensible space by clearing dry brush and other flammable materials away their homes and businesses, officials advise. They also strongly recommend assembling emergency supplies in a safe spot and making sure all residents in a home know the escape routes.

Quick evacuation was critical in saving lives during the recent Black Forest Fire in El Paso County near Colorado Springs, where more than 500 homes were destroyed and two people died. Another wildfire was bearing down on the southwestern Colorado town of South Fork on Friday, with high winds and super-dry, hot, low-humidity conditions wreaking more weekend havoc.

“A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly,” the National Weather Service reported on Friday afternoon. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”

Here’s a press release Friday from the Town of Vail:

Critical information on how best to prepare for an evacuation and to protect private property in neighborhoods at risk for wildfire will be presented during the last in a series of community preparedness meetings on Wednesday, June 26, at Vail Fire Station No. 3 in West Vail.

The free Ready, Set, Go! workshop will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Parking will be available at the fire station and along the Frontage Road. Ready, Set, Go! is a wildfire action planning program developed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and is aimed at involving homeowners early on in protecting their property from the threat of wildfire:

Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Make sure all residents residing within the home are familiar with escape routes.

Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Stay abreast of the latest alerts. Sign up at for emergency notification.

Go – Leave early! Following your action plan makes you prepared at this step of the process. Firefighters are now able to best respond to the wildfire and ensure you and your family’s safety.

In addition to the Ready, Set, Go! meeting, property owners are encouraged to contact the Vail Fire Department for a free assessment on creating a defensible space around their homes. For more information on these and other preparedness programs, visit or call the Vail Fire Department at (970) 479-2250.

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