Michael Brown, a.k.a. 'Brownie' Evacuated From Colorado Wildfires
What goes around comes around.
Former FEMA Administrator Michael Brown, a.k.a. "Brownie," was among approximately 11,000 residents of Boulder, Colo. evacuated yesterday amid raging wildfires that have scorched at least 1,000 acres. After his eagerly anticipated resignation in Sept. 2005, the poster boy for the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina moved back to the Boulder area, where he once served as legal counsel to the Arabian Horse Association and now operates a disaster consulting business.
"I got back home to Boulder, the winds were just whipping up 60, 80 miles an hour, I was working in my home office, the dogs start barking and lo and behold there’s a Boulder County Sheriff with lights flashing saying there’s a mandatory evacuation," Brown said during an interview this morning on KOA-AM's "Colorado's Morning News." (Listen to the audio here.)
Co-host Steffan Tubbs noted the irony of a top FEMA veteran evacuating his home, and Brown agreed.
“It was strange being told to evacuate, because, you know, I firmly believe in evacuations. When they told me that, you know, I just loaded the dogs up, grabbed my briefcase and headed down the mountain," he said.
"It was interesting because when he said there was a fire, you know, I couldn’t smell the smoke or see it, because the [wind was] just pushing the smoke due east. I couldn’t see the fire until I got down to Highway 36. And when I saw it I was just astonished at just how large it was. So I sat and watched it for about two hours."
Brown also said that FEMA has authorized the use of federal funds to reimburse local firefighters.
“I was just chuckling to myself, because I used to get calls, you know, at 2, 3, 4 in the morning all the time for these grants all over the country, and here I am on the other side of the fence now.”
Brown spoke with KOA by phone from nearby Longmont, Colo., where he slept last night with his wife and three dogs in a corporate apartment rented from a friend. He hosts a Saturday afternoon talk show on KOA.
In early 2006 Brown admitted he deserved some of the blame for the government's response to Katrina, saying among other things that "I should have demanded the military sooner."
"I think it's important to realize that all of us made mistakes. . . . After a while you get a different perspective," he told the AP at the time.
More than three years after his resignation, Brown now has the perspective of an evacuee.
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