Eagle County Sheriff: Lake Christine Fire Evacuations Will Remain Indefinitely

Evacuees of the Lake Christine Fire will not be sleeping in their own beds anytime soon. Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek says the evacuation orders will remain in place for some 500 homes for the next two to a few days. He says eventually people will be allowed back but he wants to avoid a stampede to the burned neighborhoods with a special rapid tag system.

“When we start to lift the evacuations, that’s gonna come in phases so we’re not just going to list all the barriers and say, ‘Okay everyone back home.’ So it’ll all be in phases. After it gets announced what neighborhoods when we’re lifting the evacuations you’re going to need one of these rapid tags to get into your neighborhood. The only way we will let somebody into those neighborhoods as we open them up is they must be in possession of a rapid tag and we verify who they are. Only the people who belong in that neighborhood will be allowed in those neighborhoods. So, over the next couple days, we encourage you to start getting registered and get your rapid tag so it’s not a mad rush at the last moment when we say we’re going to open up the El Jebel trailer park, we don’t need everyone running there and then getting sent to these centers. So I encourage you, go ahead and find out where these rapid tags are. Set up, start doing it now so that when you’re prepared, you’re able to come into your neighborhood, when we release it.”

Evacuated residents can register for the rapid tag starting Friday at 10:30 AM at the Basalt High School shelter; 600 Southside Drive, in Basalt. A photo ID will be required to acquire a rapid tag. There is no estimate for when the evacuation order will be lifted.

Some people may not be able to wait for the evacuations to be lifted. Van Beek says those with bona fide medical emergencies can be escorted back.

“…and if you do have a valid emergency– a valid emergency is talking about any kind of medications, medical equipment or something life saving.
Please come to the law enforcement command center and we’re located over at the El Jebel annex. We can assist you in getting critical essential items from your home. So if it’s truly an emergency we can get you back up in the home as long as it’s safe to do so we’ll do a quick assessment, we’ll get you in, get you what you need, and get you out again.”

Evacuated residents are being housed at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. Van Beek says rumors that Immigration agents are waiting to arrest illegal immigrants are false.

For evacuees with pets, the Orchard in Carbondale has opened their doors. The Garfield County Fairgrounds is reportedly housing 100 horses. Fairgrounds staff says they do not need any additional volunteer help, but they could use additional hay, grass or grass seed mix only; no lawn clippings and no alfalfa. Donated hay will be tracked and any unused hay returned to the owners once the hay is no longer needed. The Fairgrounds are also in need of 5 gallon buckets. If you would like to donate any of those items, you can call 970-510-0705. The Garfield county fairgrounds has also canceled this weekend’s Western Slope Reining Horse Association event to make room and take care of the animals

Colorado Animal Rescue is also taking in pets of evacuated residents.