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Over 300 estimated to be rescued before 5:30 Monday

Over 300 estimated to be rescued before 5:30 Monday
Posted Monday, September 16th 2013 @ 5pm  by Tom Lucero; 600 KCOL News

As of 3 pm Monday, about 110 people have been rescued via air rescue this afternoon, according to Nick Christensen, Executive Officer of the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. 

"I had the pleasure to go to Christman Field and observe the helicopters working and see evacuees come off those helicopters. It's just an amazing operation in terms of cooperation," said Christman. "We are very pleased to see that progress."

The weather has been cooperating with the rescue process. Clear skys have allowed 16 helicopters to bring evacuees from Christman Field. Members of the Timberline Church Serve 6.8 team have been at the airfie;d to help evacuees as they arrive. Christensen says that many of the evacuees are in good spirits and good health. 

Chuck Russell, Deputy Incident Commander from Rocky Mountain Team A of the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided an update on the progress for Monday. 

FEMA has been working the Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department to assess needs and provide food and water supplies in the an isolated area. The majority of the residents were not hard hit in this area, but are isolated. 

"A Hot Shot Crew that is doing primitave road work repair to help evacuate people out of those areas," added Russell. 

Another team is focusing on Storm Mountain, Glenhaven, Fish Creek, Waltonia, Drake, Pinewod Springs, Big Elk Meadows and other isolated areas. They inserted 10 Urban Search & Rescue units with 6-9 people each to make ready to evacuate in the communities. The teams are determining the needs via wellness checks in order to prioritize evacuations in these communities. 

"We are hoping that if everything goes smooth the rest of the day, we'll be at 300-400 folks that will be rescued by [5:30 pm] today," said Russell. 

If the temas start earlier tomorrow, the weather cooperates, and there are no problems with the helicopters, there is a hope to double the number of individuals rescued. 

While there is some success in the search and rescue operations, Christensen said there are a lot of areas that still need to be searched for unaccounted persons, and this may take months. 

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