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Massive wildfires scorching huge swaths of Colorado have local IT firms and solution providers looking over their shoulders -- and out their windows -- wondering how their business, and that of their clients, will be impacted.
While wildfires are burning in several western states, the worst-hit area so far seems to be in the Colorado Springs, Colo., area where the Reuters news service is reporting that, as of Wednesday afternoon, at least 32,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and that parts of the Air Force Academy there have burned.
The fires around Colorado Springs, a city of about 650,000 people, are among the worst to impact a major metropolitan area in the U.S. since the 2007 wildfire outbreak in the San Diego area.
IT companies both large and small are being impacted by the fires, which so far are only about 5 percent contained and which could continue to with rising temperatures.
A number of employees of Colorado Information Technologies, a small solution provider in the city, have already lost their homes to the blaze, said Denise Gonzalez, office manager for the company.
Colorado Information Technologies is making plans to evacuate if needed, Gonzalez said.
"The other side of the road from where we are is in the mandatory evacuation area," she said. "We can see the fires from here. They're about 10 miles away."
Trevor Dierdorff, CEO of Amnet, an IT services and managed services provider for businesses with 20 to 200 seats, said his company is only three miles away from the evacuation area.
"So far, we see mostly smoke," Dierdorff said. "But if it were night, I expect we could see the flames reflected in the smoke."
Four of Amnet's employees are under mandatory evacuation orders from their homes, and one employee nearly lost her home, Dierdorff said.
Amnet has been in touch with customers to make sure their offsite backups were done properly, he said.
"It was our first order of business," he said. "One client, a small newer business, decided it didn't want the overhead of offsite backups. He called us frantically last night asking us to help him get set up. But by then, the power was out at his business."
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