COLORADO SPRINGS — The city of Colorado Springs is making fire protection upgrades to help firefighting efforts in neighborhoods with a high wildfire risk.

The next project phase comes with a closure at the intersection of Cresta Road and Preserve Drive for the next four weeks. You’re asked to detour on 8th Street in the meantime.

Colorado Springs Utilities and the Colorado Springs Fire Department are teaming up on this project to improve infrastructure for areas south of Bear Creek Regional Park.

“And this is an area of great concern for us for the fires that may happen in the area. But with these improvements, we do have the ability to have that available water flow so we can extinguish those fires in case they do happen,” said Capt. Michael Smaldino, with C-S-F-D.

The project is increasing water flow needed to fight to wildfire. The city is installing water lines to connect to a two-million gallon water tank nearby.

“I have 2 million gallons of water sitting here. But I don’t have a direct way to get it from Point A over here into point B. They basically tied those two together,” said Capt. Smaldino.

“When we create that connectivity, we provide more fire hydrants access to that storage for firefighting purposes,” said Tara McGowan, Engineer Supervisor with Colorado Springs Utilities.

These neighborhoods were originally built with enough water flow to fight a house fire. The fire department says the need for this project is huge considering fighting a wildland fire up to uses four times the amount of water.

Capt. Smaldino says the need for this grew after the Bear Creek Fire threatened homes in this area.

“In the case of Waldo Canyon, we were attached to a lot of hydrants over there and we definitely tested that system. So lessons learned in the background to be able to get us that available water flow so we can do that,” said Capt. Smaldino.

Pipes in the system were also upgraded to double the size.

“When we tie on to the fire system, we’re flowing 1500 to 2000 gallons a minute. That water is cooking through those pipes. I’ll get a thousand more gallons a minute when I connect onto that fire hydrant, which obviously is huge in a wildland urban interface area,” said McGowan.

Neighbors say benefits of this project outweigh the traffic trouble it will bring in the process.

“Everybody is totally on board. Not worried about a little inconvenience. The big inconvenience would be a fire ripping through this area and losing your home,” said Eric Atha, President of the Stratton Homeowners Association.