Springs Neighborhood Practices Fire Evacuation

With fire season fast approaching, dozens of homes living near the foothills took part in an evacuation drill Saturday morning.

With the loss of almost 350 homes in last year's Waldo Canyon Fire still fresh on their minds, residents and firefighters alike took the simulation extremely seriously. Residents of the Skyway neighborhood left their homes after receiving the door-to-door notification from officials, while firefighters set up as though an actual wildfire was threatening the homes.

"This part was a simulated structure protection," Lt. Michael Archuleta told 11 News as firefighters set up around one home with hoses. "[In this case] the fire has been going on for several hours."

Archuleta said firefighters followed all procedures that they do when there is a real fire, such as hooking up hydrants.

Resident Debra Reehoorn, who took part in the drill Saturday, said the loss of her friend's home in the fire last year has encouraged her to do a lot of things differently if she's ever forced to evacuate.

"Take as much as you can," she said, recalling advice from her friend. "If your husband says to leave and not take anything [chuckle], don't do it!"

The possibility of a fire threatening her home, she told 11 News, is always in the back of her mind. The upper portion of Skyway sits off of Gold Camp Road, the lower part by Bear Creek Park on the southwest side of town. Reehoorn said she knows she lives in an area at as high of risk of wildfire as the neighborhoods to the north that were threatened--and damaged--last year. With that in mind, she said she appreciated the practice.

"It's a beautiful day for an evacuation!" she said with a laugh.

After evacuating from the neighborhood, residents headed to the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center, where they received a briefing over what occurred from officials.