On June 8, The Crystal Park, Upper Skyway, and Crystal Hills neighborhoods will participate in a wildfire evacuation drill. The City of Colorado Springs, City of Manitou Springs and El Paso County will host the exercise through the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management.
Sara Fant with the office helped plan the event and says that this year, the drill targets neighborhoods that have seen significant effects from wildfires in the past and have high turnover rates.
"The people that are living there currently may not have experienced or been a part of anything to do with Waldo Canyon or Black Forest fires," she says. "A huge component [is] just to allow those residents to be more aware of where they're living, some of the risks associated with where they're living, and what it might look like if we have to evacuate those areas in the future."
Fant says the exercise will practice sheltering drills, pet evacuation, and cooperation with first responders.
"It just brings all of these partners into the room together and gets them talking about how an actual evacuation would work," she says.
The agencies involved include the police and fire departments of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Colorado State Patrol, as well as the Crystal Park Volunteer Fire Department, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and the Red Cross.
Those in the region can expect fire and law enforcement vehicles and neighbors loading belongings into their cars the morning of the drill.
The Office of Emergency Management recommends that all residents be registered with El Paso-Teller 911 Authority to receive emergency notifications on cellphones in the case of a real evacuation.