Black Forest Fire destroys 511 homes, fire zone reopens to public Saturday

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Data pix.

BLACK FOREST, Colo. --Authorities increased the number of homes destroyed in the Black Forest Fire from 509 to 511 Friday. They also said the entire fire zone would be reopened to the public on Saturday morning.

It was declared fully contained Thursday evening.

Besides the 511 homes it destroyed, 28 were damaged. The good news is 3,653 homes were unaffected in the fire zone.

"We will restore this community. We will rebuild. We are going to come back stronger", El Paso County Commissioner Daryl Glenn said.

Investigators have wrapped up exploring what may be a crime scene where the fire started.

Officials said seven burglaries have been reported as of Wednesday.

"You're a sad person," if you burglarized a house in the burn area, Maketa said during a press conference.

On Monday morning, a resident opened fire on a troublesome squirrel, startling responders and prompting a police response.

The two victims who died in the Black Forest Fire last week have been identified as Marc Herklotz, 52, and his wife, 50-year-old Robin Herklotz according to the El Paso County coroner.

The two were in their garage apparently preparing to leave when they died.
The weather has been in firefighters' favor recently, but officials said this week's forecast will be a test for firefighters because it will be hot and dry, with very low humidity.

Incident commander Rich Harvey said the cost to fight the fire to date stands at $8.5 million. With more than 500 homes destroyed, damage will be in the tens of millions of dollars.

A total of 14,198 acres have burned. Last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire was the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history until last week. It destroyed 346 homes mostly in the city of Colorado Springs.

  • Firefighters save home from Black Forest willdfire. Photo: Colorado Springs Fire Department
  • The Black Forest fire bears down on a home on June 13, 2013.
  • A few of the 360 homes destroyed by the Black Forest Fire, as seen on June 13, 2013.
  • A helicopter makes a dump on the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013.
  • Several homes surviving in the midst of the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013.
  • One of the 360 homes destroyed by the Black Forest Fire, as seen on June 13, 2013.
  • A few of the 360 homes destroyed by the Black Forest Fire, as seen on June 13, 2013.
  • An emergency helicopter surveys the scene over the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013.
  • Smoke billows from the Black Forest Fire as it spreads to 15,000 acres on June 13, 2013.
  • An emergency helicopter fills its water basin to battle the Black Forest Fire on June 13, 2013.
  • Smoke billows from the Black Forest Fire as it spreads to 15,000 acres on June 13, 2013.
  • A small group of firefighters in the Black Forest area dug trenches and fought with backs against a wall to save School In The Woods, officials said. The Black Forest Fire has so far claimed at least 360 other buildings.
  • A few of the 360 homes destroyed by the Black Forest Fire, as seen on June 13, 2013.

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