Ouray prepped to shelter evacuees from 416 Fire

A smoky haze, caused by the 416 Fire just north of Durango, settled over Ouray Tuesday morning.
Plaindealer photo by Alan Todd

by Dalton Carver

With the continuing threat of the 416 Fire near Durango, Ouray County did its part to help those affected by the incident, which has grown to more than 5,000 acres and forced the evacuation of thousands of area residents. Upon request of La Plata County and the Colorado Office of Homeland Security, an evacuation shelter was established at the Ouray School last Friday.
While it was open for only a few hours, the exercise in setting it up was valuable training.
Around 7:14 p.m. on June 1, Ouray County Emergency Management announced a shelter was being set up for La Plata County evacuees at the Ouray School gym with a reception area at the Ouray Community Center.  With the help of Red Cross volunteers and Ouray County Emergency Management, the shelter was established for those under mandatory evacuation orders from La Plata County.
Glenn Boyd, Ouray County Emergency Manager, said they expected as many as 100 evacuees, but ended up receiving none.
“Most of them checked into hotels and stayed in Silverton instead of coming all the way here,” Boyd said in an interview Tuesday evening. “We ended up having no one actually show up at the shelter, but we did do a full set up.”
Kat Papenbrock, Ouray Chamber Resort Associaton director of operations, said several lodging locations within the city answered the chamber's call for evacuee assistance. Some lodgers even offered discounted rates, she said.
"It was anywhere from 15 to 30 percent in some cases," she said. "I was pretty impressed by our community to do that."
Durango and Silverton have official shelters and evacuation check-in sites.
Boyd’s understanding is those evacuated early on were able to take care of themselves by...

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