City agrees to take over White Acres fire protection

       The Colorado Springs City Council recently voted to take over fire protection in White Acres, the 50-acre parcel off 26th Street and Gold Camp Road as open space.

Fire trucks would use this access road off 26th Street into Red Rock Canyon should they ever have to battle a fire on the adjacent White Acres property (its distinctive cliffs can be seen in the background).
Westside Pioneer photo

       Asked what it would take to fight a fire on the property, which slopes up to high cliffs and hilly forest land behind them, Fire Department Battalion Chief Kent Matthews expressed confidence that “with early detection and quick response,” fire crews could handle it.
       In an e-mail, he elaborated as follows:
       “I personally walked the open space and reviewed aerial photographs of the area and found very limited access for fire apparatus.
       “The area includes only a single structure, the pavilion, with adequate clearance of fuels to make it defensible in the event of a wildland fire. The only readily accessible roadway into White Acres is the dirt road to the pavilion through a locked gate. I'm certain that access through the gate is not an issue.
       “Gold Camp Road borders the southeast side of the open space, but access will be slowed due to an existing fence. The area behind the fence is not suitable for firefighting apparatus, so all fire suppression and control operations would be accomplished by firefighters on foot.
       “Another possible access for fire apparatus would be via the gated service road off South 26th Street [the former landfill road from an access point that is master- planned to become a trailhead for Red Rock Canyon Open Space]. This roadway appears passable by our smaller brush units and intersects the trail system of Red Rock Canyon. This route meanders along and eventually enters White Acres.
       “The majority of fire suppression activities in White Acres will be performed by teams of firefighters equipped with hand tools and without the aid of fire apparatus (water, pumps and hose.) Wildland firefighting is always arduous and dangerous work for firefighters. But with early detection and quick response, I believe that the CSFD could contain and control an incipient fire in White Acres.
       “I must point out that the weather conditions, fuel moisture, fuel density, fire location, and fire intensity will dictate the appropriate strategies and tactics to be employed by the CSFD on any specific event.”

Westside Pioneer article