« Continuity of Operations Planning, Hot Sites

Colorado wildfires leaves uncertainty for businesses, residents

Those familiar with wildfires should establish hot sites to keep businesses open during these times.
Those familiar with wildfires should establish hot sites to keep businesses open during these times.

Last week's wildfire that ran through Black Forest, a town north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was recorded as the largest in the state's history, according to a local CBS affiliate. The 3,000-acre fire destroyed nearly 500 homes, killed two people and threatened tourism in the Black Forest area. Organizations are doing what they can to instill confidence to those outside of Colorado, as tourism is a major asset to many nearby towns.

"We're following our crisis communications plan," Amy Long, vice president of marketing and partnership at the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) told The Colorado Springs Business Journal.

Long and her team are trying to express that the entire state of Colorado is not engulfed in flames and that people are able to visit other sites in the area while popular attractions like the Royal Gorge Bridge may have to be avoided because of destroyed buildings nearby.

"But until we know, we can direct people elsewhere. We have more than 55 area attractions to direct visitors to," Chelsy Murphy, spokesman for the CVB told the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

Having a plan that helps residents and business across the board is required when it comes to creating effective evacuation orders. Keeping the location in mind is crucial. For example, Black Forest is only a few miles from Waldo Canyon, the second-largest wildfire in state history.

Identifying hot sites may prevent businesses from completely closing their doors during a time of crisis. An effective continuity of operations plan will keep organizations open for customers and ensure and residents are aware of their options during and after an evacuation.