Waldo Canyon Fire

Updates and Information

Thursday, July 5 #

4:10 p.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #10 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

To the Campus Community:

I am writing to again thank university faculty, staff and students for your response to the Waldo Canyon Fire as well as to provide an update on our community and university response. This morning’s official announcements about the fire prompt my last campus update.

At this morning’s press briefing, officials announced that the fire is now 90 percent contained and that fire crews are in transition from type 1 to type 3 firefighters. Full containment will likely happen soon as helicopters douse remaining flames on Blodgett Peak. Today’s briefing was the last in Parking Lot 8. Media and public inquiries will now be handled through individual telephone calls.

Other key information that was shared included:

  • Establishment of a $50,000 reward for information about persons involved in looting and burglaries of cars and homes belonging to fire victims.
  • By the end of today, Colorado Springs Utilities expects only 250 residents to be without full utilities. By the end of the weekend, CSU hopes to have all utilities restored.

UCCS continues to support first responders and evacuees. Last night, UCCS housed 133 off-duty Colorado National Guard members. We expect those numbers to decline during the weekend. I want to thank those campus community members who volunteered to help make the stay of these individuals as comfortable as possible.

UCCS supports students. The Division of Student Success, as well as many faculty members, has worked individually with students affected by the fire who were enrolled in summer classes. If you know of students whose off-campus work was affected by the fire (for example, a layoff at a business affected by the fire), please encourage them to contact Jevita Rogers, director, Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment, jrogers3@uccs.edu.

A week condensed to 16 minutes. Steve Moraco, son of Donna Moraco, director, Center for Excellence in Languages, completed a video of the Waldo Canyon Fire from the family’s Monument home. To see the video, visit http://youtu.be/ZBA7eHY022k.

At this morning’s press briefing the incident commander, Rich Harvey, said that in his 30 years of firefighting he had never seen such a positive community response as Colorado Springs has provided. I am honored that UCCS was part of that response and that each of you responded in a way that represented you, the university and our community in such a positive and memorable way.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor

Tuesday, July 3 #

4:23 p.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #9 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

Dear Campus Community:

We have just learned of another UCCS member directly affected by the fire last week.

Leslie Grant, associate professor, College of Education will coordinate efforts to support Nancy Blackwell, adjunct in Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education. Nancy's home was destroyed by the fire. Associate Professor Grant can be reached at 255-4098 or lgrant@uccs.edu.

Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak
Chancellor

11:59 a.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #8 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

To the Campus Community:

This morning’s news about the Waldo Canyon fire is cause for celebration. The fire is now 70 percent contained overall and fully contained within the Colorado Springs city limits. Evacuation orders are being lifted throughout our community.

I want to provide a brief update as we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday.

Offers to help are appreciated. The care and concern expressed by members of our campus community for the victims of the Waldo Canyon fire is a hallmark of what makes UCCS strong. If you are interested in contributing money, clothing or food to the fire victims, I ask that you do so through the following organizations.

  • Care and Share. Please call 528-1247.
  • Red Cross. The Red Cross has established a donation site in parking lot 6 south of the parking garage and the Department of Public Safety.

Student health center is offering tetanus boosters. The UCCS Student Health Center will offer tetanus boosters for the cost of the vaccine ($30) to faculty, staff and students. The El Paso County Health Department recommends the booster for those living in areas affected by the fire if a dose has not been received in the past five years. Please call 255-4444 to schedule an appointment.

I am grateful to every member of this campus community. You came together in a time of need and were unified by your desire to help and to be helpful. In the coming days, I hope to send individuals who volunteered a personal thank you and we also hope to have some sort of celebration of our community at a later date.

I wish you a safe and quiet (remember, no fireworks are allowed by state law) Fourth of July holiday. I will send another campus update Friday morning.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor

Monday, July 2 #

3:53 p.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #7 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

To the Campus Community:

While Colorado Springs seems to have breathed a collective sigh of relief this morning, I remain concerned about members of our UCCS community as well as members of the broader Colorado Springs community.

The Waldo Canyon Fire claimed the homes of three employees. Dozens more are in the burn area and may not be able to return to their homes for weeks. Many of our students also have been affected by this disaster and may be displaced.

We must continue to show patience and care for our campus community members as well as diligence in protecting it. In this afternoon’s update, I want to share the latest information about the fire and suggestions for individual actions.

Firefighters continue to make good progress. At this morning’s media briefing, fire officials estimated the Waldo Canyon Fire is now 55 percent contained. Weather conditions (higher humidity levels, lower winds) led to optimism, though it is likely that firefighters will remain at work until mid-July.

Respite housing for firefighters and first responders remains a UCCS focus. Beginning Thursday night, UCCS began hosting off-duty wildland firefighters. On Friday, they were joined by National Guard troops sent to relieve and supplement Colorado Springs Police. About 70 National Guard members are staying in Summit Village following their shifts. They join about 25 civilian evacuees, twelve with UCCS ties, in university housing.

Volunteers make UCCS shine. Many campus community members volunteered over the weekend to help make campus housing comfortable for off-duty firefighters. I thank those who contributed their time to help clean rooms, distribute towels or undertake countless other small tasks that contributed to making campus a welcoming place. I thank each of you and offer a collective thanks to the campus for its response over the past several days.

Parking Lot 8 remains closed. Lot 8 near the Recreation Center remains a media briefing center and closed to parking. Media briefings are now scheduled for 8 a.m. daily. There are fewer reporters in place than last week and I expect numbers to decline as firefighters make progress.

As our community begins to recover from this disaster, I offer the following suggestions of what we, as individuals, we can do to help community members and protect campus.

  • Avoid smoking and be observant of those who are smoking. If you must smoke, you must do so in compliance with university policy in close proximity to ashtrays and in designated smoking areas. If you see someone in violation of the policy, I encourage you to remind them of the high fire danger on campus or to call University Police. In a related matter, if you see someone smoking or setting off fireworks from the undeveloped areas of campus, please call Police immediately at 255-3111.
  • Lend a helping hand. Three employees lost their homes to the fire. If you want to help them, please see Update #6 which identified those who are coordinating the effort. I also encourage patience with those students or coworkers whose homes may have survived but who are directly affected by the events of the last few days. Please see my previous updates for contact numbers.

Last week, I shared my opinion that a community’s time to shine is in its darkest hour. UCCS faculty, staff and students have represented the University of Colorado well during this disaster. I am extraordinarily proud to represent a campus that has shown the world what I already knew. You are truly outstanding.

I wish you a safe and joyous Fourth of July holiday. We will provide another update on Friday or sooner if necessary. You may see previous updates and official communication at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor

10:13 a.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #6 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

Dear Campus Community:

In calls and emails this weekend, I was reminded of the strength of our community and its resolve to recover from the Waldo Canyon Fire. This morning, I want to provide an update on the first steps of that recovery, helping those members of our university family who have been directly affected by the fire.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help those members of our campus family whose homes were lost. It is impossible to know what specific help they need. I have asked three people to lead efforts to match offers of assistance with those directly affected. Please contact the following with your offer to help.

Teri Switzer, dean, Kraemer Family Library will coordinate efforts to support Rita Hug, senior instructor, Kraemer Family Library. Rita's home in Mountain Shadows was destroyed by the fire. Dean Switzer can be reached at 255-3115 or tswitzer@uccs.edu.

Ede Greene, professor, Department of Psychology, will coordinate efforts to support Sara Qualls, professor, Department of Psychology. Sara recently moved to Mountain Shadows and her home was destroyed. Professor Greene can be reached at 255-4147 or egreene@uccs.edu.

Kelly Mattingly, executive assistant, Office of the Chancellor, will coordinate efforts to support Martin Wood, vice chancellor, University Advancement. Martin's Mountain Shadows home was destroyed by the fire. Kelly can be reached at 255-3436 or kmatting@uccs.edu.

I have heard from several staff and faculty members who live in the area affected by the fire but whose homes were not seriously damaged. These colleagues should receive our support as it may be several weeks before they can return home.

Additionally, I know many of our students live in the affected neighborhoods and may be displaced. I encourage continued patience with those students. If students need assistance from the university, they should contact the Division of Student Success, 255-3159.

I continue to be proud of your response as individuals and our collective response as a university to this disaster. I will provide another update this afternoon.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor

Friday, June 29 #

5:50 p.m. #
Press release issued: UCCS to provide respite housing for firefighters

UCCS to provide respite housing for firefighters

Susan Szpyrka, (719) 255-3210, sszpyrka@uccs.edu
Tom Hutton, (719) 255-3439, thutton@uccs.edu
Jane Zook, (719) 385-7366, jzook@springsgov.com

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of Colorado Colorado Springs will provide housing for up to 100 wildland firefighters completing their shifts combatting the Waldo Canyon Fire beginning Friday night.

UCCS will provide dormitory-style space for the firefighters in the university’s Summit Village complex.

“We are pleased to provide this space to the heroes of this community,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “We recognize the sacrifice that many have made to help our community in its time of need. This is a way the university can say thank you.”

Many of the wildland firefighters are part of a multi-agency response to the Waldo Canyon Fire and are from communities outside of Colorado Springs. As a result, many cannot return to their personal homes and do not have places to stay locally.

UCCS will provide the firefighters with space in Summit Village complete with housekeeping services, refrigerators and access to Internet and television in common areas. Care and Share will provide them with donated toiletry articles, food, and other services.

At the peak of the Waldo Canyon Fire evacuations, UCCS housed more than 350 evacuees including 200 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets. The cadets are expected to return to the USAFA late Friday afternoon and many evacuees were allowed to return to homes on the west side of Colorado Springs Thursday night. More evacuation orders are expected to be lifted Friday.

UCCS provided Colorado Springs residents evacuated from their homes with three nights housing at no charge. Individuals who need housing for more than three nights will pay reduced rates for up to a one week additional stay.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 9,300 students annually. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.

3:35 p.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #5 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

Dear Campus Community Members:

My joy for fresh air and progress in the fight against the Waldo Canyon Fire was quickly subdued this morning by news the fire has claimed its first victim, an individual who lived on Rossmere Street in the Mountain Shadows area.

The fire’s first victim lived only a few houses away from the homes of UCCS faculty, staff and students. I know of three employees whose homes in Mountain Shadows were destroyed. More will return to homes that are damaged and others remain under evacuation orders. Our students and their families face similar challenges.

Through all of this I remain positive. I am proud of this university’s response to the disaster and the aid that more than 40 volunteers provided at a last-minute event for 2,000 community members in Gallogly Events Center last evening. The logistical problems that came with such a large event were eased by the compassion that UCCS faculty, staff and students provided. To each of you, I am deeply thankful and appreciative.

I am pleased to provide you this update, the last you will receive from me this week. Barring an emergency, there will be no chancellor’s office communication until Monday.

Fire fighters are making progress. At this morning’s press briefing, fire officials were optimistic about the progress they would make today and reported the fire is 15 percent contained. The media pool was considerably smaller today, likely the result of President Obama’s visit to the fire-ravaged areas of our community. He did not visit campus.

New Student Orientation was a success. This morning’s new student orientation was a success with 143 participants attending, many from out of state, anxious to become members of the campus family.

Cadets are set to depart, firefighters to arrive. This afternoon, 200 Air Force Academy Cadets who called UCCS home after being evacuated, will return to the academy. In their place there may be up to 100 wildland firefighters staying in Summit Village beginning Friday night.

Volunteering is encouraged. The response to the call for volunteers has been amazing. Your help has made the difference for many. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Cindy Norton, (719) 255-3212 or cnorton@uccs.edu.

Donations are needed. Care and Share will have a drop off site in Parking Lot 6 throughout the weekend. Donations of food, clothing, and toiletry items are sought.

Recovery is in motion. Beginning Saturday, El Paso County will open a disaster recovery center at 105 N. Spruce. The center is designed as a central location to answer questions and provide assistance on filing insurance claims, rebuilding homes, and receiving grief counseling. The center is will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. I also recommend that those who were evacuated contact their insurance carrier to see what benefits may be available to you. If you have space in your home that you would like to provide to a campus community member affected by the fire, please contact Cindy Corwin, 255-3696 or ccorwin@uccs.edu.

I remain proud of our efforts as a campus and our support of our greater community. I thank each of you for your individual and collective efforts. You have shared with the world your compassion and your care. I am grateful.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor

8:02 a.m. #
Campus Alert updated on the UCCS homepage

Friday June 29 - Classes, activities and offices are operating on normal schedules. We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff, and our Colorado Springs home community, throughout the duration of this disaster.

For information about the fire, please contact 719-955-0742.
Students who need assistance, or have questions, please contact 719-255-3582.

This information and previous statements are available at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire

Thursday, June 28 #

2:42 p.m. #
Response to Fire – Update #4 email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

Dear Campus Community Members:

While I remain concerned about the health and welfare of many in our community, I am writing to share positive news as well as several updates about activities on campus.

At this morning’s media briefing, fire officials were optimistic about the progress they would make today. Weather conditions are favorable and more than 1,000 firefighters are now in place. With 18,500 acres burned and with only 5 percent of the fire contained, much work remains. This morning’s report does, however, provide hope.

UCCS hosts USAFA evacuees. Late last night, about 200 U.S. Air Force cadets arrived on campus, bringing the total number of evacuees housed at UCCS to more than 350. For details, please see the press release that was issued http://pressreleases.uccs.edu/?p=1020. If you need housing, please call (719) 255-4042 and identify yourself as a faculty or staff member.

Volunteers still needed. More than 80 students, faculty and staff have volunteered to assist the campus in this time of need. If you have not volunteered and are able to do so, please contact Cindy Norton, (719) 255-3212 or cnorton@uccs.edu.

President Obama to visit Colorado Springs. The White House announced yesterday that President Obama will visit Colorado Springs. We do not know where he will visit.

Media staging area expands. UCCS continues to be the official media briefing site in Parking Lot 8 near the Campus Recreation Center. The media area continues to expand, often with community members interested in the latest information. If you are interested in hearing the latest news, I encourage you to take advantage of live streams provided by local television and radio stations. The sound quality is actually better than if you were to attend the briefings in person. Media from coast-to-coast are covering the Waldo Canyon Fire. The fire was the front page story in the New York Times and was the subject of national morning television news shows. Our response to the crisis is putting UCCS in a national spotlight.

Classes and activities will continue as scheduled. Classes remain in session and Friday’s New Student Orientation will occur as planned. We will continue to monitor air quality on campus but believe our air conditioned buildings provide the safest venue for students, faculty and staff.

Administrative leave explained. I shared via campus email lists our policy regarding employee administrative leave during this crisis. I encourage you to be aware of this policy and our commitment to work with employees on a case-by-case basis.

As a reminder, I want to strongly discourage smoking on campus, that the Counseling Center is available, and that the Student Success Division is working with individual students affected by the fires. There is also a website where you can keep track of the university’s action at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire

I am reminded of statements that a community’s darkest hour provides its greatest opportunity to shine. I am proud of our campus response to this disaster and thank each of you for the care that you have shown to each other and to strangers. I encourage you to keep up your good work.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor

7:50 a.m. #
Housing update

UCCS residence halls are currently at capacity and can no longer accept evacuees. If you or someone you know needs accommodations, the Pikes Peak American Red Cross has five shelters open:

  • Cripple Creek Victor Jr. High School, 410 B Street, Cripple Creek, CO
  • YMCA Southeast Family Center, 2190 Jetwing Drive, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Cheyenne Mountain High School shelter located at 1200 Cresta Road, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Palmer Lewis High School, 1300 Higby Rd, Monument CO
  • Summit Elementary School, 490 Meadow Park Drive, Divide, CO

These locations are subject to change. For up-to-date information please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pikes-Peak-American-Red-Cross/98864625909

6:31 a.m. #
Press release issued

Air Force Cadets relocate to UCCS; campus no longer accepting evacuees as housing is at capacity

Tech. Sgt. Raymond Hoy, HQ/USAFA Public Affairs, (719) 333-7608
Tom Hutton, UCCS, (719) 255-3439, (719) 351-6519, thutton@uccs.edu

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In an effort to reduce the footprint of cadets on the Air Force Academy and focus on the Class of 2016, Academy officials relocated approximately 550 cadets from Academy grounds Wednesday with 200 cadets arriving at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs late Wednesday night.

About 200 summer academics will live in UCCS student housing and continue coursework in temporary classrooms on the UCCS campus. The arrival of the cadets will not affect UCCS summer courses. However, UCCS can no longer accept evacuees from the Waldo Canyon Fire. More than 80 evacuees found refuge at UCCS and will receive up to three days housing at no charge.

“UCCS draws its strength from the community of Colorado Springs,” Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said. “We are pleased to assist the community in its time of need and to host the cadets.”

Brig. Gen. Dana Born, dean of the USAFA faculty said: "UCCS has been a terrific partner helping our faculty and cadets continue our academic programs while we focus on the Class of 2016 and in-processing,"

Commanders have suspended the airmanship program due to the current operational support of the Waldo Canyon Fire, and other training programs have also been postponed. These approximately 350 cadets have been released to their local sponsor families.

Academy officials want to ensure the public that the cadet area is currently not in imminent danger.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 36 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls more than 9,300 students annually. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.

6:12 a.m. #
Campus Alert updated on the UCCS homepage

Thursday June 28 - Classes, activities and offices are operating on normal schedules. We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff, and our Colorado Springs home community, throughout the duration of this disaster.

For information about the fire, please contact 719-955-0742.
Students who need assistance, or have questions, please contact 719-255-3582.

This information and previous statements are available at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire

Wednesday, June 27 #

4:01 p.m. #
Email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

Dear Campus Community Members:

The events of the last few days have affected all of us profoundly and in ways we may not fully comprehend for days, weeks or months. I encourage you to reach out to your colleagues, friends and neighbors to offer support. Few of us are untouched by this disaster.

I am writing to update the campus on the actions taken this morning and to provide guidance on how we can best support our community members who are directly affected by the events of the last few days.

Campus remains open. In the event that air quality is considered unhealthy, classes will be cancelled and campus closed. For now, air conditioned UCCS buildings provide the safest breathing environment for many faculty, staff and students.

UCCS is accommodating evacuees in housing as space allows. The campus placed more than 80 evacuees Tuesday night in university housing and will continue to accept those who are evacuated for as long as there is space available. Spaces will be made available at no charge for up to three days. For those with breathing difficulties, UCCS housing may not be the best option as units are not air-conditioned. If you need housing, call 719-255-4042.

Smoking on campus is discouraged. If you must smoke, please do so carefully and only in designated areas.

UCCS is supporting students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Counseling Center is available to students and evacuees who are experiencing difficulty in coping with the disaster. Additionally, the Student Success Division will work with students individually and is authorized to give students unable to continue their studies full tuition refunds. Please share the following numbers:

  • Counseling Center, 719-255-3265
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Success, 719-255-3582

As a faculty or staff member, if you have been evacuated, lost your home, are unable to get to campus, or if you know of someone else from campus affected in this way, please share that information with Human Resources by emailing hrinfo@uccs.edu.

How you can help. If you want to assist on campus, please contact Cindy Norton, 719-255-3212 or cnorton@uccs.edu. If you want to help in the community, please contact the American Red Cross or the Pikes Peak United Way. You can also encourage those community members who do not have campus business to stay away from campus. This will lessen the burden on Police who must direct campus traffic.

The official media staging area is at UCCS. The campus is hosting media from throughout the region and nation who are covering the fire. Parking Lot 8 near the Recreation Center is where official media briefings will be made by the various agencies involved in fighting the fire. The official incident command is located at Holmes Middle School.

Information and updates at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire. We will continue to provide updates twice daily that focus on campus. You may review those updates at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire. For more detailed information about the fire, visit http://inciweb.org.


Respectfully,


Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor

3:55 p.m. #
Campus Alert updated on the UCCS homepage

Wednesday June 27 - Classes, activities and offices are operating on normal schedules. We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff, and our Colorado Springs home community, throughout the duration of this disaster.

For information about the fire, please contact 719-955-0742.
Students who need assistance, or have questions, please contact 719-255-3582.

This information and previous statements are available at www.uccs.edu/waldocanyonfire

10:40 a.m. #
Campus Alert updated on the UCCS homepage

UCCS is open for classes and business, Wednesday June 27. We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff, and our Colorado Springs home community, throughout the duration of this disaster.

For information about the fire, please contact 719-955-0742

Students who need assistance, or have questions, please contact 719-255-3582, 719-255-3608, or 719-255-3470

This information and previous statements are available at www.uccs.edu/~waldocanyonfire

8:25 a.m. #
Email sent to faculty, staff, and student email lists

UCCS is open for classes and for business today, Wednesday, June 27. Decisions about campus operations will be made based on conditions and may change. The campus status will be posted at www.uccs.edu.

We will continue to support our students, faculty, and staff and our Colorado Springs home community throughout the duration of this disaster. While not an official evacuation site, the campus will accommodate as many evacuees as space allows.

Please do your best to accommodate students and coworkers who may have been affected by this disaster. If you , of if you know of a campus community member affected by the fire, please send information to hrinfo@uccs.edu.

We will continue to send updates to faculty, staff and student email lists as necessary.

Respectfully,

Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor

8:00 a.m. #
Campus Alert posted to the UCCS homepage

UCCS is open for classes and business, Wednesday June 27. We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff, and our Colorado Springs home community, throughout the duration of this disaster.