Opponents of newly-amended evacuation ordinance in Colorado Springs seek help from state lawmakers
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- West side residents who believe that city officials ignored their concerns about the new emergency evacuation ordinance sought an audience Wednesday with the state Legislature.
Dana Duggan, a member of the neighborhood group Westside Watch, made a presentation to the bipartisan Wildfire Matters Committee in Denver on Wednesday afternoon.
Duggan said that the city's new ordinance doesn't include what opponents have asked for -- evacuation modeling that would let neighbors know, in advance, how long it takes to evacuate from a particular area, and which streets and intersections would be used as evacuation routes.
City authorities said that it's difficult to establish evacuation times during a rapidly-changing emergency such as a wildfire, and that disclosing evacuation routes in advance could be taken advantage of by terrorists.
However, Duggan said that California's legislature recently passed three laws requiring residents to receive such information, in the aftermath of the devastating Paradise Fire in November 2018 that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 homes and other structures.
State Rep. Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs, is a member of the Wildfire Matters Committee; he did not respond to an interview request from KRDO NewsChannel 13.
"I'm open to any suggestions that committee may have," said City Council President Tom Strand. "But I don't want the state Legislature telling us how we should conduct our emergency evacuations."
Any legislation pertaining to local emergency evacuations likely won't come until next year's session.
Meanwhile, the city is preparing to spend some of the $20 million allocated for wildfire prevention; a mitigation project is scheduled for the recently acquired Fisher Canyon in the southwest-side Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood.