Wetmore Fire 100% Contained: October 29 #WetmoreFire

Firefighters reached 100 percent containment of the Wetmore Fire on Monday afternoon.  With the fire fully contained, the Type IV Incident Management Team that had been managing the fire since Saturday transferred authority of the incident to Custer County.

Fire officials remind the public that they may smell smoke in the area for the next few weeks.

The Wetmore Fire began Tuesday, Oct. 23, one-quarter mile from the town of Wetmore. It burned 1,998 acres in Pueblo and Custer counties. While 15 residential structures were lost, there were no injuries to the public or firefighters over the course of this incident.

More than 20 organizations responded to the Wetmore Fire, including: Buelah Fire Department, the Bureau of Land Management, Canon City Fire Department, Chaffee County Fire Department, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Mountain Rangers, Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol, Cripple Creek Fire Department, Custer County, Florence Police Department, Fremont County, Long Canyon Fire Department, Manitou Springs Fire Department, Pueblo County, Pueblo West Fire Department, Red Creek Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Rye Fire Department, South Arkansas Fire Department, South Metro Fire Department, Tallahassee Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, West Metro Fire Department, and Wetmore Fire Department.

The Disaster Assistance Center in Wetmore has closed, but residents can call 719-371-5137 or the Custer County Sheriff at 719-783-2270.

The Wetmore Fire Information phone line will be put out of service at noon, Tuesday, Oct. 30. For future information regarding the Wetmore Fire, please contact Christe Feldmann with the Custer County Office of Emergency Management at 719-783-2410.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

Hurricane Sandy Information Sources

Are you looking for information on Hurricane Sandy? Here is a list of websites and Twitter accounts that can help you stay connected:

Hurricane Central:
Twitter @twc_hurricane or www.twitter.com/twc_hurricane
Agency Website is www.weather.com/hurricanecentral

Department of Homeland Security: Twitter @DHSgov or www.twitter.gov/DHSgov
Agency website is www.dhs.gov

Weather Channel:
Twitter @weatherchannel or www.twitter.com/weatherchannel
Agency website is www.weather.com

National Hurricane Center
Twitter @NHC_Atlantic or www.twitter.com/NHC_Atlantic
Agency website is www.nhc.noaa.gov

Twitter @NOAA or www.twitter.com/NOAA
Agency website is www.noaa.gov

Red Cross
Twitter @redcross or www.twitter.com/redcross
Agency website is www.redcross.com or use www.safeandwell.org to register or find family and friends.

Tips on Communicating During A Disaster from the FCC:

Wetmore Fire Disaster Assistance Center Update

The Wetmore Fire started at approximately 1:00 PM on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. As of October 27, local officials estimate that the fire burned approximately 2100 acres and damaged or destroyed 15 homes. A Disaster Assistance Center opened on Friday, October 26th and will close on Saturday, October 27, 2012. Custer County took the lead in establishing the DAC with primary support from the Department of Local Affairs Regional Manager.


Custer County OEM, Custer County Public Health, Custer County Planning and Zoning, Custer County Commissioners, Custer County Sherriff’s Office, Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments, West Central Mental Health, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Division of Insurance, Colorado Office of Emergency Management, Colorado State University Extension, USDA Rural Development, American Red Cross, 211, Care and Share Food Bank, Loaves & Fishes, 7th and Floral Food Pantry, The Salvation Army, State Farm Insurance.


• Re-entry permits
• Zoning/rebuilding permits
• Tetanus shots
• Disaster cleanup kits
• Food and toiletries
• Information referral
• Crisis counseling
• Low interest loan applications
• Housing locator and rental assistance
• Land and home restoration information
• Insurance information
• Fire behavior and acreage information
• Motel vouchers


• There were 34 intake forms completed and approximately 10 people who did not complete the intake form but visited one or more station.
• Custer County distributed 37 re-entry permits
• Custer County Planning & Zoning visited with 10 people and issued 1 building permit
• Custer County Public Health gave 16 Tetanus shots.
• West Central Mental Health visited with approximately 6-8 families
• USDA Rural Development visited with 3 individuals.
• Red Cross assisted 18 families, gave away 18 Cleaner Kits, 13 Cooler Kits, 24 rakes, 25 shovels, 29 sifters, 3 boxes of 3 pairs of gloves, 22 boxes of 3 respiration masks.
• State Farm Insurance worked with 2 policyholders.
• DORA - Division of Insurance assisted 6 families.
• Loaves & Fishes distributed 21 Food Boxes and 15 cases of water
• Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments put one family up in a hotel, assisted one person with getting eye care and glasses, and assisted one family with locating and paying for a car mechanic. Members from UAACOG also replaced one kids Halloween costume.

Wetmore Fire Update: Oct 27 #WetmoreFire

1. Wetmore Fire turned over to Type IV Team.

2. Fire size remains at 2,100 acres.
3. Containment is 95%.

4. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

5. Fire updates available at www.inciweb.org.

Wetmore Fire Relief Fund: #WetmoreFire

Wetmore Fire Relief Fund Information.

Please send checks to:
c/o Wet Mountain Community Foundation
PO Box 718 Westcliffe, CO 81252

For questions, please contact Jim Little at 719-783-2361

Winter Weather Awareness Week: Avalance Safety #COwx

Thousands of avalanches occur each winter in the mountains of Colorado. With the enormous popularity of winter sports in Colorado, this poses a risk to skiers, snowboarders, hikers and snowmobilers. On average six people die in avalanches in the State of Colorado every year. Anyone who travels into the high country in the winter should be prepared for avalanches and know how to avoid them. 
The first thing to know is most avalanches occur during or just after snowstorms and most occur on a slope of 30 to 45 degrees.  A significant snowfall may result in an unstable snow pack. By waiting 36 hours after a big snowstorm you may allow the snow to become more stable. If you stay in valleys away from avalanche chutes, in stands of dense trees, or on gentle slopes you can minimize your avalanche risk.   
If you are a skier or snowboarder at a commercial ski area there is little danger of avalanches. However respect their rules and do not stray out of bounds. Ski areas work to reduce the danger from avalanches within their bounded terrain, but out of bounds a serious avalanche risk may exist. Minimize your risk by staying in bounds. 
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors in areas prone to avalanches, you can minimize the danger by following a few simple rules.
    Check the current avalanche forecast to get information on current
    and forecast avalanche conditions. Also check the latest weather
    forecast to see if conditions are likely to change while you are in
    the back country. 
    Never travel alone. Always have one or more companions. 
    Even small avalanches can be fatal. If you are alone and get
    trapped you may not be found until spring.
    If crossing a slope that may be prone to avalanches...do it  
    one person at a time. You want to minimize the impact on    
    your party if an avalanche is accidentally released. 
    In avalanche country all members of your party should carry
    avalanche rescue equipment including an avalanche beacon, shovel
    and probe pole. This increases your chances of effecting a
    successful rescue and finding your friends alive. 
Avalanche conditions in Colorado are monitored and forecasted by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, CAIC. You can get more information on avalanches and avalanche safety from CAIC. Their number is 303-499-9650 or go to their internet site at http://avalanche.state.co.us 
Now is the time to get prepared for winter so you can safely enjoy the outdoors and travel safely when the snow flies.  

Information provided by the Boulder/Denver National Weather Service Forecast Office.  Additional information on winter weather preparedness and current weather conditions can be found at www.weather.gov.

Roatcap Fire Disaster Declaration Signed by Governor

Gov. Hickenlooper signs Executive Order for Roatcap Fire

DENVER — Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed a disaster declaration for a wildfire burning in Montezuma County. The Executive Order makes resources available to pay for fire suppression, response and recovery related the Roatcap Fire.

“On Oct. 24, the Roatcap Fire started in an area generally located between Cortez and Town of Dolores in Montezuma County. This wind-driven fire quickly grew in size and intensity, prompting the evacuation of 30-40 homes and threatening about 30 others. All available firefighting resources were committed to structural protection,” the Executive Order states.

Disaster declarations authorize the transfer of any funds in the state budget to the Disaster Emergency Fund, which is not funded unless money is needed. State law does not allow people who have lost homes or property in the fire to seek reimbursement from these disaster funds.

OEM Update: October 26

Office of Emergency Management Update ~ October 26, 2012

Information included in this week's update includes:
  • Amy Shish Joins the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Managaement
  • 2013 Colorado Emergency Management Academy Deadline Nears
  • New Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control Fire Management Officer Map
  • State EOC Activiated
  • CSEPP Public Affairs IPT Hosted by DHSEM
  • Kudos and Congratulations
  • Position Open
  • Educational Resources
  • Training Opportunities
If you would like to submit an article for next week's update, please email Micki at micki.trost@state.co.us.

Winter Weather Awareness Week: Extreme Wind Chill Safety #COwx


The combination of wind and cold temperatures in winter can be deadly. The wind chill index helps you determine when dangerous conditions develop that could lead to frostbite or hypothermia. It takes into account heat loss from the human body to its surroundings during cold and windy weather.  The calculation utilizes wind speed in miles per hour and temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. For example a temperature of minus 5 degrees occurring with a 20 mph wind gives a wind chill near minus 30 degrees. This means that your body will lose heat at the same rate as it would if the air temperature were minus 30 degrees with no wind. Wind chill values near minus 25 degrees mean that frostbite can occur in as little as 15 minutes.

Frostbite first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears. To minimize frostbite make sure all body parts are well covered. When frostbite starts feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite hold the frostbitten area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.

Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common weather killer in winter. When you hear of a hiker, climber, hunter or a stranded traveler perishing from cold weather exposure...hypothermia was the cause. Most people are surprised to learn that hypothermia deaths can occur with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees. If you or your clothing are wet then hypothermia becomes even more likely. 

Warning signs of hypothermia include:
  •  uncontrollable shivering
  •  memory loss
  • disorientation
  • slurred speech 
  • drowsiness. 

Immediate medical attention should be given to victims suspected of suffering from hypothermia. If no help is available the victim should be warmed slowly with warm liquids along with dry clothing and blankets.

The National Weather Service will issue wind chill advisories and warnings when a deadly combination of wind and cold air threaten Colorado. To learn more about wind chill visit the National Weather Service internet site at weather.gov/om/windchill. Use lower case letters when entering this address.

 When cold weather threatens Colorado follow these tips for survival:
  • Stay dryWet clothing results in much faster heat loss from your body. Wear waterproof insulated boots.
  • Stay coveredWear mittens or gloves and wear a hat. At least half of your body heat is lost if your head is not covered.
  • Dress layeredTrapped air between loose fitting clothing helps to insulate.
Stay informed and have a portable All-Hazards NOAA Weather Radio to keep you up-to-date with the latest forecasts and warnings. Use wind chill temperatures to guide you in dressing properly for the outdoors.  On very cold days minimize your exposure to the outdoors if possible.

Information provided the Denver/Boulder National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office.  Additional information is located on the NOAA website.

Colorado Wildfire Update: Oct. 25 #COfire


1. REPORT DATE/TIME:   10/25/2012

2. LOCATION: Custer and Pueblo Counties

3. EVENT START DATE: 10/23/2012

·        Custer County Office  of Emergency Management will open the Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) tomorrow with the following hours:
o   Friday at 10 am – 7 pm
o   Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
o   Not open on Sunday
o   Wetmore Fire Department is location of DAC
o   Federal, State and local agencies will be on hand to provide information and assistance.
·         Field Manager and Fire Management Officers (2)
·         Public Information Officer Liaison

5. DEATHS/INJURIES: 0 fatalities, 0 injuries

6. DAMAGE: 14 residences damaged or destroyed, unknown amount of out buildings.

7. EVACUATION STATUS/#: Evacuations have been lifted for all residences outside of the fire perimeter.  Highway 67 and Highway 96 reopened at noon.  Roads within the fire perimeter remain closed.
·         American Red Cross shelter in Florence will close at 8 p.m. tonight.
·         Animal Shelters               
o   Pathfinder Park, between Florence and Canon City (Large Animals)
o   Crossroads Event Center, Penrose (Large Animals)
o   The Colorado State Fairgrounds, Pueblo (Large Animals)
o   Los Pinos Equestrian Center and Purple Heart Ranch, 109 Yucca Avenue, Florence (Large Animals)
o   Pueblo Animal Services, 4600 Eagleridge Place (Small Animal)

8. CURRENT SITUATION: Fire estimated at 2,100 acres. 15% containment,  300 personnel on scene.  Type II IMT assumed command today.  The fire remains under investigation.

The Incident Command Post has been moved to Pathfinder Park off Highway 115 between Florence and Canon City.

Fire fighters work to continue securing structures, work the fire perimeter and mop up operations.

9.   Information updates are being posted on Inciweb at www.inciweb.org for official information from Inicident Command, on Facebook on Custer County Emergency Management page and www.coemergency.com.

Information obtained from Inciweb, Field Manager and PIO Liaison at ICP.


1. REPORT DATE/TIME: 10/25/2012

2. LOCATION: Montezuma County

3. EVENT START DATE/TIME: 10/24/2012

4. ASSISTANCE ANTICIPATED FROM STATE:   OEM Field Manager at the incident    

5. DEATHS/INJURIES: 0 fatalities, 0 injuries

6. DAMAGE: None reported


Evacuation and Pre-Evacuations are in place:  County Road P to P.5 West of 29 and 28 North from P.5 is now open to residents only.  Escorts will be available beginning at 9 a.m. for critical situations only.
American Red Cross shelters located at:

           Kemper Elementary School in Cortez
          Animal Shelter:  Montezuma County Fairgrounds is open for domestic livestock animals and the Cortez Animal shelter is taking small animals.           

8. CURRENT SITUATION: Fire estimated at 396 acres (as of 1:54 p.m.)  70% contained.

9. Information updates are being posted at www.montezumasheriff.org and on Twitter at @SanJuanNF.
Information obtained from Montezuma Sheriff webpage.  This incident is not on Inciweb.


This fire started on October 12 and is still active in La Plata County.  Incident Command will transition from a Type III IMT back to local incident command.  The fire is 222 acres and is approximately 25% contained.  This will be the last update on the Vallecito Fire unless significant changes occur.  Incident information can be found on Inciweb for this fire.


The Fern Lake Fire also remains active and is 1,030 acres and 17% contained.  Snow dampened fire activity today.  There are 36 personnel working the fire that is in the Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park in Larimer County.  This will be the final update on this fire unless there are significant changes to report.

The State EOC was deactivated.  Office of Emergency Management and Fire Prevention and Control staff continue to monitor and support the state and active fires.

State EOC Returns to Daily Operations

The State EOC returns to daily operations and is not activated. The Office of Emergency Management will continue to monitor conditions of the State and to support the active fires.

Disaster Declaration Signed by Governor for Wetmore Fire: Oct. 24

Gov. Hickenlooper signs Executive Order for Wetmore Fire

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a disaster declaration today for a wildfire burning in Custer County. The Executive Order makes resources available to pay for fire suppression, response and recovery effort related to the Wetmore Fire.

“On Oct. 23, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control received a request for assistance from the Custer County Sheriff for a wildfire burning near the town of Wetmore. At the time of the request the fire was threatening approximately 350 homes in and around the Town of Wetmore and mandatory evacuations were in progress. In addition to the homes and businesses, the fire is also threatening roads, utilities and a watershed in the area,” the Executive Order states.  
Disaster declarations authorize the transfer of any funds in the state budget to the Disaster Emergency Fund, which is not funded unless money is needed. State law does not allow people who have lost homes or property in the fire to seek reimbursement from these disaster funds.

Verbal authority for the Executive Order was given Tuesday. The governor formally signed the order today. The order is attached to this press release.

Roatcap Fire

The State Emergency Operations Center is monitoring a new fire in Montezuma County. 

It is the  Roatcap Fire at Montezuma CR 29 & CR P, headed NE.

Mandatory evacuations.

Sheriff set up hotline phones: 970-564-4997 and  970-564-4998.

Red Cross responding.

Incident information on Twitter by following @SanJuanNF and  is posted at

Wetmore Fire Situation Report from State EOC: #WetmoreFire October 24



1. REPORT DATE/TIME: 10/24/2012 12:00 p.m.

2. LOCATION: Custer and Pueblo Counties

3. EVENT START DATE/TIME: 10/23/2012

  • Monitor situation in Custer and Pueblo Counties 
  • Be prepared to coordinate and provide requested assistance 
  • Monitor other conditions throughout the State
  • Coordinate resource through Pueblo Interagency Dispatch
6. DEATHS/INJURIES: 0 fatalities, 0 injuries

7. DAMAGE: 14 residences damaged or destroyed, unknow amount of out buildings.

  • 102 homes in Custer County and 276 homes in Pueblo County evacuated.
  • Shelters located at:
            First Baptist Church 
            303 E. 3RD Street
            Florence, CO 81226

            Church of Nazarene
            84 Sanford Avenue
            Pueblo, CO 81005 

9. CURRENT SITUATION: Fire estimated at 2,200 acres with 2,000 in Custer County and  200 in Pueblo County.  0% containment,  160 personnel on scene.

10. FUTURE THREATS: Red Flag warning in effect throughout incident area.

Wetmore Fire Update: Oct. 24

Wetmore, Colo., Oct 24, 2012 (5:00 AM) – The Wetmore Fire, burning in grass, Ponderosa Pine and Oak Brush, has burned approximately 1000 acres one mile west of Wetmore. One hundred thirty firefighters from 16+ agencies are working as a team to fight the fire.

Crews experienced extreme fire behavior Tuesday due to high winds; aerial resources were not able to fly. Aviation resources are ordered but may not be able to fly because the same gusty winds are predicted to continue today.

There are an estimated 386 residents evacuated according to Custer county Sheriff Fred Jobe. The evacuations in place are for Greenwood, Wetmore, and east of Wetmore into Pueblo County. Reverse 911 was being utilized, however due to fire damage of utility lines; a multi-agency, house-to-house notification was implemented. Evacuated parties are being referred to Baptist Church at 303 E. 3rd Street in Florence, and the First Church of the Nazarene (719-564-3209), 84 Stanford in Pueblo.

Additional elective evacuations were performed along Siloam Rd in western Pueblo County last night as the strong winds pushed the fire eastward.
The public is being asked to stay out of the area.

Colorado 96 is closed westbound from The Pueblo Reservoir south entrance to Wetmore, and Eastbound from Colorado 165 to Wetmore. Colorado 67 is closed southbound from County Road 15 to Wetmore.

Local resources have been working around the clock maintain the road closures and structure protection for incoming Fire Crews… Lives and Structures is our priority.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered and will be arriving tonight and will take over management of the fires.

Large Animals are being referred to Pathfinder Park in Canon City , Cross Roads Event Center in Penrose Co. or the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. Contact Eskridge Veterinary at 719-240-6880 for help with domestic animals.

Participating agencies include: Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, and Chaffee Counties; Colo. State Patrol, Colo. State Forest Service, Colo. Div. of Fire Prevention and Control, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management; Pueblo, Pueblo West, Canon City, Florence, Penrose, Wetmore and Tallahassee Fire Departments.

Information provided by, Ralph Bellah,
PSICC Fire Prevention Officer.

Wetmore Fire Map

View Wetmore Fire in a larger map

This map includes information on road closures, shelters,animal shelters and media staging. At this time we do not have an official fire perimeter to add to the map.

Wetmore Fire Update: October 23 at 4:45 pm

Wetmore Fire Information

  • First call came in at 1:32 PM and was reported as a wildland fire of unknown origin.
  • Fire size is estimated to be at least 700 acres.
  • Gusting winds of over 50 miles per hour reported in area.
  • No confirmation on number of threatened or damaged structures at this time.
  • Emergency Fire Funding (EFF) was approved at 3:15 p.m.
  • FEMA Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) was approved at 4:45 p.m.

Evacuation Information

Evacuation areas are Greenwood, Wetmore, and east of Wetmore into Pueblo County. 

Reverse 911 was being utilized, however due to fire damage of utility lines, a multi-agency, house-to-house notification was implemented.

Shelter and Reception Area Information

  • Baptist Church at 303 E. 3rd Street in Florence, CO
  • Church of Nazarene, 84 Stanford Avenue, Pueblo, CO
  • Large Animals are being referred to the Colorado State Fairgrounds.
  • In Westcliffe, domestic animals are being accepted at the Custer County Fairgrounds.

Road Closures

Colorado 96 is closed westbound from The Pueblo Reservoir south entrance to Wetmore. Eastbound from Colorado 165 to Wetmore. Colorado 67 is closed southbound from County Road 15 to Wetmore.


  • 15 multiple agencies
  • Office of Emergency Management Field Manager 
  • 2 Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control Fire Management Officers
  • Type II Incident Management Team ordered and arrival is expected on Wednesday, October 24.

The overnight plan is to maintain the road closures, Scout and Point Protection for incoming Fire Crews.  Lives and Structures throughout the night is the priority .

State EOC Activated: October 23

The State EOC has been activated at a level four, monitor with core staff, to support the Wetmore fire in Custer County, Colorado.

An OEM field manager is en route to support the emergency manager on site.

Colorado 2012 Joint Information Systems at Work

This presentation was created by Public Information Officer, Micki Trost, Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. It was delivered at the Garfield County Public Information Officer Workshop on October 19, 2012.

CDOT and COEM Encourage Mortorists to Prepare for Winter

News From
The Colorado Department of Transportation

Date:    October 22, 2012
Contact:  Mindy Crane, CDOT  – (303) 757-9469
Micki Trost, Office of Emergency Management – (303) 472-4087


DENVER – This week, October 21- October 27 is Colorado Winter Weather Awareness Week and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado Office of Emergency Management are offering some tips on how to get yourself and your vehicle prepared for inclement weather.
“This time of year, winter weather can strike at any time, which means we all need to get our emergency kits and vehicles ready for winter travel,” said CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt. “Early preparation will help ensure the safety of those traveling Colorado highways during inclement weather.”
 The first step in preparing for winter is ensuring that you have an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you are stranded. If you find yourself stranded, stay in your vehicle, turn on your flashers, call for help and wait until it arrives. Your emergency kit should include the following:

  • Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
  • Sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow
  • Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight
  • Survival blanket or sleeping bag
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc
  • Water for each person and pet in your car
  • Food items containing protein such as nuts and energy bars; canned fruit and a portable can opener
  • First Aid Kit and essential medications
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
  • Jumper cables
  • Extra cloth or paper towels for cleanup if necessary
  • Deck of cards or board game for entertainment

In addition to the emergency kit, be sure to check your vehicle now and before any road trip to make sure it is in safe operating condition

  • Windshield Wiper Fluid
  • Heater/Defroster
  • Wiper Blades
  • Antifreeze
  • Lights
  • Fuel System and a Full Tank of Gas
  • Ignition
  • Exhaust System
  • Tire Tread
  • Battery Brakes

In addition to the emergency kit and vehicle preparedness, it is important for motorists to keep speeds down during inclement weather and give snow plows room to do their job.  Motorists are also encouraged to plan ahead when traveling by calling 511 or visiting www.cotrip.org for real-time road information. Winter weather awareness information and updates are also posted by the Office of Emergency Management at www.COEmergency.com or on Twitter at COEmergency using the #COwx hashtag.
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