Air evacuations down drastically, search and rescue operations continue
Last Updated: 85 days ago
Officials in charge of the Larimer County flood response told reporters they are surprised by the number of residents who have opted to stay in their homes, cut off from help by washed-out roads.
"A lot of individuals don't have a desire to leave," said Chuck Russell, the deputy incident commander in Larimer County.
"We let them know the 911 process is not what it used to be (before the flood)," Russell said. "An ambulance can't get onto to the highway and get to your house anymore."
For those people, the only access to their homes is by air and "I hope they're take that into consideration, as part of their risk assessment," he said.
When asked how many had refused offers to be airlifted out, Russell said he didn't have exact numbers but it was "in the hundreds."
He said helicopters from Buckley, from Wyoming and from Fort Carson are continuing their air operations in the county, ferrying in search and rescue teams and bringing out evacuees.
The number of people airlifted out on Wednesday was 20. They also brought out seven cats and two dogs.
Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokesman Nick Christianson said the choppers are being used for "pinpoint insertions" of search and rescue personnel into areas not easily accessible by vehicles.
He said once the search and rescue crews are on the ground, they spend the night in the location and then are picked the next day to be moved to the next community.
"It's a big chunk of country up there," Christianson said. "it's taking us quite a while to get in there."
Rescue crews are using dogs to search for people alive and dead in the flood debris. There are still 197 people that are unaccounted for in Larimer County, officials said.
-- Boulder County: No air evacuations today --
Emergency flood evacuations are winding down, with Boulder County reporting no air evacuations on Wednesday.
Boulder County officials said the only evacuations were two residents who walked out of the flood zone on their own.
Meanwhile, the number of residents unaccounted for dropped to four with 810 previously unaccounted-for cases closed, Boulder emergency management officials said via Twitter at 3:30 p.m.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.