FORT GARLAND — Some of the highlights of the 1 p.m. briefing Friday, July 6, at the evacuation center near Fort Garland are:
• Rain was helpful on Thursday, Cuchara received 3/4 inch, and increased humidity assisting with the fire efforts
• Many items of advice were shared with Forbes Park property owners who will be allowed in for a brief re-entry on Saturday. There will be some smoke. If see some smoke, don’t worry, if a lot of smoke, tell someone. Firefighters will be on hand, as will EMT’s, Red Cross and behavioral health counselors. The main purpose of Saturday’s re-entry is to get household trash such as food removed. Debris clean up will occur later. There will be dumpsters for people to dump their trash, such as food removed from refrigerators and freezers.
• The checkpoint for those re-entering on Saturday will be where Highway 160 is closed. Every adult in every vehicle must have a rapid tag, and Colorado State Patrol and other law enforcement will check names and addresses. Rapid tags are available today until 3 p.m. and from 7-11 a.m. on Saturday. People will be checked in and checked out. Everyone must be back out of the park by 1 p.m. There will be two lanes going in, and CSP will escort vehicles to the Forbes Park gate. Then people are on their own to go to their properties.
• Available to those re-entering Forbes Park on Saturday will be sunscreen, bulk distribution (including trash bags) and water. Stay hydrated.
• It is not prohibited but not encouraged to take children and pets into the burned area on Saturday. There will be places where pets can be left while residents go back in. See http://www.slvemergency.org/
• Porta potties and hand washing stations will be set up for those in the Forbes Park on Saturday.
• Those going back in on Saturday are urged to wear boots and protective clothing, not shorts and tank tops.
• At the evacuation center, multiple assistance agencies are on hand such as victim assistance and victim advocates, case workers and health professionals. Tetanus vaccinations are available and encouraged. Two masks per person are also available at the evacuation center.
• Those seeing injured or dead wildlife should not approach them. Report such sightings to Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
• Also do not touch any fire apparatus left in the area.
• Rainbow’s End on Main Street in Alamosa is offering free clothing and shoes to those with rapid tags. Also, those who have such items may take them to Rainbow’s End to donate.
• The Costilla County Assessor’s Office team is in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches and Wagon Creek areas today, hoping to finish assessments today. Those areas must then be cleared by hazardous clean up teams. Dates for re-entry hopefully will be announced soon.
• Also, infrastructure providers like San Isabel Electric and phone providers are working to restore power and other utilities to the Forbes Park area. Incident Commander Shane Greer said he hoped by the time he left at the end of next week, Forbes Park residents would be allowed back in permanently.
• The name of the fire was clarified. It is Spring Fire. Someone at some point entered the word “creek” and it is almost impossible to remove that now from the system, but the fire is Spring Fire, not Spring Creek Fire.
• The number of homes destroyed in Costilla County at this point is 132, but assessments are ongoing.
It might take a couple of weeks before the Spring Fire is listed as contained and weeks to months before it is “controlled.”