Saturday morning came bright and brisk at Broadmoor Bluffs.
It was a good day to wake up to, except for the fire trucks and police cruisers roaming through the area.
More than 150 households in the lush, hilly neighborhood west of Highway 115 near Academy Boulevard took part in a fire exercise, evacuating their homes as a faux wildfire blew through their homes and headed deeper into Colorado Springs.
The drill simulated a real fire for residents and first responders to handle, including evacuation as fire trucks rolled in, said Lt. Steve Wilch, Colorado Springs Fire Station 4.
The exercise took place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Included were the Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management.
Starting at 8 a.m., officers with the police department went door to door to alert residents to the evacuation.
Cruisers were posted in areas along key roads, such as Broadmoor Bluffs Drive, to help shepherd residents out of the area.
Residents in a real evacuation would be instructed to take only one vehicle but in this case, because it was a practice, they were urged to take a couple so there would be more traffic to deal with, Wilch said.
The scenario: A noon fire call comes in on a day when the winds are steady at 12 miles per hour with gusts up to 25 mph blowing from the southeast to the northwest.
The idea, Wilch said, is to "reinforce the things we want to do in the future if we have another Waldo Canyon fire that blows into the city."
When the Waldo Canyon fire tragically swept into the city in 2012, the evacuation of some west side neighborhoods was far from orderly. But the only people who died in the blaze did not try to evacuate and in spite of the relative confusion in the evacuation, no one was injured.
That example demonstrated that an evacuation rehearsal can be valuable.
"We have about 15 firefighters responding in the city in an evacuation drill to see what would happen in a real event when we have a fire in start in the city and then moves through the city," Wilch said. "We need firefighting resources at the same time that CSPD is moving people out of their residences. People are moving in one direction at the same time that the fire department is moving into that area to fight the fire."
Among lessons to be learned, he said, is for residents to be aware of multiple routes out of their neighborhoods.
"Don't take your usual route out of the area," he said.
It could be blocked by the blaze.
Or it could be packed as other residents head for the same route out, Wilch said.