There is currently a major wildfire burning in Boulder, Colorado (northeast of Denver).  More than 3,000 homes have been evacuated, and, according to that same Denver Post:

Emergency reverse 911 systems are not working properly and residents are expected to evacuate before they get an alert.

So how are people getting information about this fire?

Folks are getting up to the minute information (and more information about localized evacuations) through Twitter and Facebook.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management maintains an excellent website with an updated Emergency Status page (and runs on Joomla!).  The Status page has been heavily updated throughout the day.

But the Boulder Office of Emergency Management also maintains a Twitter account and a Facebook page.  Both are continuously updated, and their updates are making the rounds on both social networks.

I’ve long said that small cities and counties can use social networking tools instead of licensing expensive texting software to notify citizens of emergencies (outside of reverse 911 systems, that is).  And even in this situation, when reverse 911 systems aren’t working, it is useful for all to have a backup that is easy to post to (text messages for Twitter and Facebook).