On June 23, 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire started burning in our community. At Colorado Springs Utilities, we worked 24/7 to assist with firefighting efforts, to ensure that utility services were safe to use, to communicate with our customers and employees, and to restore service, as needed, once it was deemed safe to do so.
We were honored to serve and also so proud of the countless others who stepped up to help during the disaster and after the blaze was contained. We continue to support rebuilding to repair damaged watersheds and to prevent future incidents through active mitigation efforts.
Here is a brief snapshot of our efforts both during and after the Waldo Canyon Fire:
- Our wildland fire team provided front line support to fight the fire.
- When requested, equipment, operators and water tenders were sent to assist various agencies.
- At the direction of incident command, we protected neighborhoods by shutting off utility services before fire was in the area.
- We supported more than 300 of our own employees who were evacuated through fundraising efforts and evacuee breakfasts.
- Through our Community Focus Fund, we held a firefighter supply drive.
- For the duration of the fire, we had no water quality concerns or impacted service to customers outside of the evacuated areas.
- Post fire, we restored natural gas service to 4,200 homes in eight days with the assistance of Xcel Energy, which required in-person visits to manually re-light pilots.
- We canceled any outstanding utility bill balances for customers who lost their homes.
After fires scar the landscape, flash flooding poses a tremendous risk to life and property. In our region, flash floods often cause high rates of erosion resulting in infrastructure damage and large amounts of debris to clean up. We are actively involved in post-fire watershed restoration efforts to reduce the risks to infrastructure affected by post-fire flooding.