Local News

Wildfire keeps authorities busy with evacuees

Reasons for evacuating often disputed or not understood

Fire Evacuee Frustrations

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Authorities are trying to strictly enforce mandatory evacuation zones, often to the frustration of evacuees who feel they have valid reasons to return.

An example of that played out Thursday on the northeast end of the zone, at the intersection of Eastonville and Evans roads.  An El Paso County deputy manned a checkpoint there, and a steady stream of local homeowners tried to reach their homes for a variety of reasons.

Donnie Hansen was in Texas attending his niece's graduation when he learned of the wildfire in Black Forest.  He left a few hours before the ceremony to rush back and check on his home.

"I was hoping to get into my house and get some things," he said.  "Guess not."

Bill Coffey said he helped others evacuate, only to forget an important item when he himself evacuated.

"All my medicines," he said.  "But I can go to the pharmacy and get them.  I was just hoping to get what I already had here."

Alan Bailey and his family said they didn't have time to take their cattle with them, so they turned the livestock loose on their 80-acre ranch.  They wanted to check on the animals and give them water, but the deputy turned them away.

On Friday, however, Bailey's daughter said that a deputy agreed to escort the family back to their ranch.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office asks homeowners to be patient and obey the mandatory evacuations for their own safety and keep the area under control.

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