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Jefferson County Unveils New Evacuation Plans

Smoke billows as the Lower North Fork Fire rages near Conifer

On the heels of the Lower North Fork Fire which claimed the lives of three people, Jefferson County officials have unveiled a new set of evacuation plans for unincorporated parts of the county. 

The plan is comprised of three tiers and can be used as a graduated process, or at any level independently and in no specific order if the scope of a disaster such as a wildfire calls for such action.

Jacki Kelley is with the Jefferson County’s Sheriff’s office. She says the new system will help alleviate confusion and miscommunication in the event of another large wildfire.

“Really this is a better situation for everyone involved. Law enforcement will be on board, all of our local fire protection districts, our citizens, our media, the support personal involved in the evacuation process from the sheriff’s office. Everyone is being educated so that we are all speaking the same language in an emergency.”

The three tiered system is divided as follows:

Level 1 Evacuation means be ready.  Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area.  You should make preparation and be ready to leave, and then monitor local media outlets.  Residents with special needs (such as the elderly or those with a susceptibility to breathing problems) are advised to evacuate. People with livestock or pets should consider moving them out of the area.  Evacuations at this time are voluntary, but if you have concerns, evacuate now.

Level 2 Evacuation means leave soon.  There is significant potential of danger in your area, and residents should relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside the affected area.  You need to leave as soon as possible.

Level 3 Evacuation means leave immediately.  Danger in your area is current and imminent. There is no time to gather belongings. Leave immediately.

The plan is supported by all fire protection districts in unincorporated Jefferson County as well as the Board of County Commissioners.

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