Waldo Canyon Fire Press Conference, 6/29


[Update as of 12:13 p.m.: Eight hundred unburned acres towards the middle of the fire perimeter are currently burning. This is nowhere near the perimeter and is not a threat to Colorado Springs or residents in El Paso and Teller counties, but is creating a large plume of smoke that can be seen from the Springs.]

Officials multiple times offered their condolences to fire victims during Friday's press conference regarding the Waldo Canyon fire.

One by one, officials addressed the media and gave their sincere sympathies to those who lost their home, as well as addressing the family of the first fire casualty. The deceased's identity was not released.

The first order of business Friday was to announce the establishment of a disaster recovery center, which will be opened Saturday at 9 a.m. The hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The center will offer a variety of services for those in need, ranging from grief counseling to assistance with insurance claims. The center will be located at 105 N. Spruce.

Evacuation centers in Colorado Springs--Cheyenne Mountain High School, Lewis-Palmer High School and the Southeast YMCA--still have room for evacuees. Currently, CMHS has 168 people, LPHS has 39, and the YMCA has 68.

Authorities are currently evaluating evacuated areas to determine whether they are safe enough to allow residents back in. They hope to have an update at the 4 p.m. briefing.

Colorado Springs Utilities urged evacuees to be patient about getting services restored. Gas was turned off for roughly 4,200 people in the area of Peregrine, Mountain Shadows, and areas west of Centennial and Mountain Ranch for the protection of the firefighters. CSU says it could take awhile for gas to be restored. Electricity should be restored sooner.

Officials were optimistic about battling the fire Friday, noting that weather conditions were similar to Thursday, which were favorable enough to allow firefighters to wage the most successful battle on the fire to date. No structures were burned Thursday, no perimeters breached, and officials felt confident about existing containment lines holding.

Numbers given to reporters were unchanged from Thursday night: 16,750 acres burned (adjusted from 18,500) and 15 percent containment. Containment is expected to increase with Friday's efforts.

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