Firefighters hope to have Black Forest 100% contained today
BLACK FOREST, Colo. — Firefighters hope to have the Black Forest Fire 100% contained Thursday.
The prediction was made by Incident Commander Rich Harvey during a morning news conference.
“The firefighters have been out there working diligently,” Harvey said.
Harvey, who leads a Type 1 Incident Command Team, said with full containment, his team will move on and a Type 3 team will take over to help residents move back in.
“The fire will not be unattended,” Harvey said.
He also added that no firefighters were injured battling the blaze, which has burned 14,280 acres.
Investigators continue to look at what caused the fire to begin with.
Sheriff Terry Maketa said fire investigators are looking at a 28-square feet area believed to be the point of origin.
“They have all but ruled out natural causes,” Maketa said. “We are pretty confident it was not for instance a lighting strike.”
“Investigators are on their hands and knees with magnifying glasses looking at everything there is on the ground,” Maketa said.
Maketa said earlier this week that the fire was being treated as a crime scene, meaning in part that investigators were preserving every piece of evidence that they could. But he said he wasn’t ready to say whether a crime was committed.
The Black Forest Fires is the most destructive in Colorado history having burned 509 homes and damaged 28. It’s believed to have cost about $8.5 million.
The blaze rapidly ravaged woods and neighborhoods in the mostly rural area of Black Forest last week, and firefighters struggled to keep up in the early days, thanks to little rain and blustery winds. But more favorable conditions helped firefighters raise containment from 5% Friday to 65% Sunday.
Two people were killed in the fire. They were identified as Marc Herklotz, 52, and his wife, Robin. Both were trying to remove ammunition from their garage that they thought might hurt firefighters.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office planned to allow all evacuees to go home soon.
Each home has to be evaluated. Utility companies have to restore service and make sure they are safe.
“I’m just frustrated and tired and I want to go home,” on evacuee told FOX31 Denver.
“I’m sorry for my neighbors, but I’m thankful my house is there,” said Elain Tolari. “They will be rebuilt and we will all be back together again.”