Paper Releases Waldo Canyon Fire Investigation Wednesday

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A Colorado Springs newspaper will publish an in-depth investigation into actions taken by city leaders at the height of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

It points to several problems including a lack of resources that at one point left firefighters drawing up plans on a paper map with a dry erase marker on the hood of their own vehicle.

The tale of the firefighters who faced the flames roaring through Mountain Shadows is spelled out in their own words.

"The core of our story, we knew, lay in the reports the firefighters wrote themselves," said Pam Zubeck Tuesday.

Zubeck is a reporter for the Colorado Springs Independent. For her investigation into the Waldo Canyon fire she obtained official accounts filed by firefighters describing chaos for crews who were left unprepared.

"Our firefighters did an extraordinary job in this event against all odds,” Zubeck said. “They were not given an advantage by mother nature or by their own leaders."

Zubeck’s story explores what supervisors knew the morning of Tuesday, June 26. It was known, for example, weather and fuel conditions that day could make the fire could explode. Those reports collected by Zubeck show there were few resources standing-by in Mountain Shadows that day.

As it was reported live on KKTV 11 News evacuations weren't issued for the neighborhood until late in the afternoon on the 26th.

It was too late for two people who lost their lives.

11 News called the city Tuesday. A spokesperson said they could not comment without seeing the story from the Independent.

A statement from the city was issued to the Colorado Springs Independent prior to publication which can be read in Wednesday’s Independent. The Independent will also post all of the firefighter reports on their website: