New information released in Lower North Fork Fire emergency notification fiasco

Lower North Fork Fire. March 27, 2012.

Lower North Fork Fire. March 27, 2012.

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Roughly 100,000 homes in Jefferson County and Broomfield are not listed in the database for reverse emergency calls, officials said Thursday as part of the investigation into why many residents in the Lower North Fork Fire evacuation area did not receive notifications.

County officials held a conference call Wednesday with FirstCall, the company hired to distribute reverse emergency notifications, to determine how widespread the problem is, and if it contributed to the deaths of three people in last week’s wildfire.

In its summary of the call, Jefferson County says 100,000 homes are not included in FirstCall’s database due to “geocoding” gaps involving merged records from CenturyLink and official data.

The report also states that some residents who registered their cell phones on also did not receive an emergency notification.  And in other cases, residents who live closer to Denver than the fire area received calls to evacuate, even though they were not part of the mandatory evacuation.

Read the conference call summary from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

The Lower North Fork Fire, which started as a prescribed burn, charred 4,100 acres and destroyed 26 homes in southwest Jefferson County.

Sam and Moaneti Lucas and their neighbor, Ann Appel, died the fire. The investigation will try to determine if they were among those who did not receive emergency calls.

FirstCall issued the following statement Thursday:

“First Call is currently working with anomalies in the telephone data to ensure that all records are placed in the correct location. Both the telephone data and GIS layers, which are used to match the telephone numbers to the correct location, are provided by third parties and are not created by Jefferson County. This process is close to completion.”


Timeline established for start of Lower North Fork Fire

Neighbors question how emergency notification calls worked

911 calls reveal panic, misinformation as Lower North Fork Fire spread

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