Update: July 7_AM Report from Wildfire Officials
Update: July 4_PM Report from Wildfire Officials
Update: July 3_pM Official Report from Wildfire Officials
Lake County could definitely see the effects from a backfire technique used by the crews fighting the #WestonPassFire yesterday, July 1. The mission was considered a success as it allowed crews to hold the fire from jumping Highway 285 near the Hartsel turnoff.
The Weston Pass Fire has now grown to 6,575 acres, up from 4,000 reported just yesterday; it’s currently at 10 percent containment.
Residents in Twin Lakes are reporting that they still have no cell service. Recorded messages from the cell phone carriers report the outages are due to damaged fiber optic lines from wildfires all across Colorado. There is no estimated time for complete repairs and users should anticipate intermittent – or none, for many -service until crews can access the lines for repairs. Another suggestion for some may be to try making calls during low-usage times – i.e. early morning/late night. Simply put, everyone pulls – more or less – from the same system which is not at 100% and therefore redundancy issues are prevalent statewide.
There will also be a considerable increase in traffic along Highway 24, especially in the downtown corridor in Leadville Today as traffic will be re-routed due to the Highway 285 closure, plus it’s the July 4th holiday week. #BuckleUp and #BeKind Many thoughts and prayers to the firefighting crews around the great state of Colorado!
Leadville Phones, Net Restored. Weston Fire Update
Cell phone and internet service was restored to thousands of Leadville and Lake County residents late Saturday night, after being knocked out by the Weston Pass Fire which was first reported in Park County on Thursday morning, June 28. While the fire never entered Lake County, residents in the southern-eastern part of the county, specifically in Beaver Lake Estates and Mt. Massive Lake Estates watched the skies nervously as huge plumes of white smoke billowed into the air on just the other side of the mountains. Then came the communication outages and with it the rising concerns about receiving updated information from emergency officials.
At Saturday’s Community Meeting at the Park County Fairgrounds wildfire officials addressed the outages, confirming that the Weston Pass Fire was directly related to cell and internet outages but since the communications network for Verizon and Charter is a complicated series of fiber optics running throughout the state, there was also discussion about whether the Spring Fire down in Costilla County could have interrupted service as well.
The simple answer is that all of the recent wildfires have compromised the fiber optic lines, and the redundancy built into the system to avoid gaps in service has been pushed to the limited. While there was discussion about Verizon providing portable cell towers to the affected areas, there was no formal system in place to carry out this plan. When asked if wildfire officials had a plan in place to communicate with residents now that primary cell and internet systems were compromised, the response was “no.”
In the meantime, Lake County remains at a Stage One Fire Ban (LINK), something Leadville Today confirmed with Lake County Public Information Officer Betty Benson after receiving notification on Friday, June 29 from forest officials and surrounding counties that fire bans in these areas had recently increased, particularly in advance of the July 4th Holiday.
Benson reported (sic): “Per undersheriff Kirkland the fire ban will not change as our conditions do not call for it. Conditions are being monitored tho.”
Fortunately, safety prevailed at the Leadville Lions Club meeting on June 21 when the group decided to cancel their annual Independence Day fireworks display.
“It’s sad but I completely understand the safety concerns,” posted one LT reader on the Facebook Page.
Latest Update: Late June 30
Weston Pass Fire Grows, Phone, Internet Down