Waldo Canyon Fire a little too close for comfort

A possibility fire could make it’s way to Tri-Lakes area

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The Waldo Canyon Fire has burned thousands of acres so far and forced the evacuation of thousands and even though it’s not in the vicinity of the Tri-Lakes area there’s always that possibility that it could make its way here.

“Right now it’s staying on the other side of the ridge and staying more to the west but if we get a lot of wind from the southwest it could make its way over the ridge,” Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Greg Lovato said.

Lovato said it’s hard to tell what Mother Nature is going to do but if the fire made its way over the ridge it could hit the Rockrimmon neighborhood and move into the United States Air Force Academy property and run along the face of the foothills. Residents from portions of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood near the Flying W Ranch have already been evacuated.

“There is definitely a concern,” Lovato said.

He said the department is prepared for the possibility.

“We’d have to make plans to evacuate people and save what structures we could,” Lovato added.

John Van Winkle, spokesperson for the academy, said installation commanders are evaluating the situation and are reviewing what actions need to be taken if the fire should jump the ridge and make it into the academy.

“We’re the Air Force. It’s our job to be prepared. We’re not in the business of wishful thinking. We certainly hope for the best but must also prepare for the worst,” Van Winkle said, adding that the academy has the best firefighters in the air force.

Additionally the academy still plans to receive the 2016 cadet appointees for in-processing on June 28.

The dry conditions have had the Palmer Lake town council worried for about the possibility of a wild land fire even forcing them to cancel the annual fireworks display on the Fourth of July.

With the Waldo Canyon Fire not too far away town council believes they made the right decision.

Trustee Dr. Michael Maddox said the fireworks were cancelled for three reasons. They had concerns that embers from the fireworks could land in the forest and start a fire. With thousands coming into Palmer Lake to watch the fireworks display there was the worry that too many people will throw cigarettes out car windows and every year people bring in their own fireworks and go into the forest and the Glen and set them off.

“It’s a tinderbox out there. All it takes is one small ember to light the forest on fire,” Maddox said.

Maddox realizes that people are angry about the cancellation but he said there are too many forest fires that are starting and with the Waldo Canyon Fire the closest one to Palmer Lake it is better to be safe.

“We are going to ere on the side of safety,” Maddox said.

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