Report: Colorado Springs firefighters 'undertrained' for Waldo Canyon fire

City releases first after action review

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs city officials were undertrained for the Waldo Canyon wildfire, according to an after action report released by the city Tuesday.

The report, the first public critique of the city's response to the fire, which destroyed 345 homes, highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of their response.

You can read the full report here.

"The Waldo Canyon Fire was a complex Type I incident that spanned two counties and multiple municipalities," the report said.

The fire started on June 23 and burned 18,200 acres over 19 days. It killed two people.

A footnote in the document said the count of destroyed homes was revised downward from 346 by an analysis conducted by the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

The report found major strengths of the city's response included post 9/11 collaboration among the city's various public safety agencies, plans for dealing with a large wildfire and the overall public safety response that included safely evacuating 26,000 people on June 26 -- the day the fire exploded and moved into the city's limits.

However, the report also made recommendations including improving rapid response information sharing among fire and police agencies.

It also suggested the city increase training for staff members to deal with the logistics of a large-scale disaster.

"The Waldo Canyon Fire was a historic incident of epic proportions that taxed every aspect of the City of Colorado Springs' response personnel," the report said.

The authors stressed the report was only an initial review and that a more detailed analysis would need to be completed.

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