Snow slows down East Troublesome home damage notification process

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GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — While snow is serving as a huge help in the East Troublesome Fire fight, it is presenting major difficulties in the mission to inform residents if their homes are still standing.

New viewer video shared with FOX31 shows a snow covered and the closed off Sun Valley Ranch. The footage shows a blanket of snow suffocating a smoldering hot spot.

Pictures from local photographer John Williams also highlight the power this fire has had on the area, capturing wind blown and bent scorched trees in addition to an area known as Sun Valley Ranch Estates where Corry McDowell had a cabin.

“I know 100% it’s gone, I’ve seen pictures,” McDowell said. “I want to go up there to see in person that it is totally gone but then I realize there’s snow up there and you probably not see anything but snow”

Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said Tuesday that snow is causing a slowdown in his crew’s process of surveying and notifying residents about damage. 

“Some places have a foot of snow, some have some inches, so they are trying to identify what is a house, what is a garage, what is an outdoor structure and if they can figure out what those are and then truly make sure that their assessment is on the correct land,” Schroetlin said.

As each day of surveying damage continues, the sheriff says numbers of devastated homes are rising.

“We’re finding more every direction that we turn around,” he said. “We get down these roads, we go in one direction things are looking up and then we find a house that is an unfortunate mishap.”

McDowell and her family are choosing to come to terms with their unfortunate loss days after dealing with heartbreak. The family is now looking at new plans to rebuild.

“It’s a positive instead of just dwelling on what we’ve lost to look forward,” McDowell said. “God’s going to open up doors and we’ll have a nice beautiful cabin. Our hope is next Thanksgiving to have my son’s cabin and ours done where we’ll go up with the rest of the kids and enjoy the cabin.”

If you are still in an evacuation area, the sheriff’s office is asking residents to complete this new form so officials can contact you directly about re-entry and damage notifications: https://forms.gle/DpASp8EHKvaWMYih8

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