Sunday, June 16, 2013

UPDATE: Black Forest Fire destroys 482 homes, at 65 percent containment

Posted By on Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 2:16 PM

As hoped, it's been a good weekend for firefighters battling the Black Forest blaze. At a press conference earlier this afternoon, incident commander Rich Harvey said containment has increased to 65 percent.

While the damage numbers keep creeping up — 482 homes lost and 17 with partial damage, as of 11:30 today — the biggest gains have been made among homes that appear unaffected. Currently, 3600 homes fall into that latter category.


Black Forest Fire
  • Steve and Mary Snyder

The new numbers, as of approximately midnight Friday (going into Saturday):

473 homes considered total losses
17 with partial damage
3181 that appear unaffected

——- PREVIOUS POST, FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 9:04 P.M. ——-

Ten more homes here, another 20 there, and the "total loss" number for the Black Forest Fire keeps on rising.

With an update time-stamped approximately 7 p.m., the dynamic document assembled by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office now shows 419 homes destroyed, another 15 partially damaged, and 2645 appearing unaffected.

——- ORIGINAL POST, FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 6:16 P.M. ——-

Officials announced tonight that, with the help of the weather — including a good little rain that wetted the shirts of Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, on site to tour the burn zone — containment of the Black Forest Fire has grown to 30 percent.

"As you can see, we had a real good day without wind," said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. "I mean, in comparison to the previous days, the cloud cover we got to experience; and I think the rain made a tremendous impact, especially with that duff that lines the ground and that we've seen a lot of smoldering in the last several days."

From his Twitter account, Gov. Hickenloopers shown enjoying the rain.
  • @hickforco
  • From his Twitter account, Gov. Hickenlooper's shown enjoying the rain.

On the flip side, the official tally of homes deemed a total loss in the fire grew to 400 total, with 12 partially damaged and 2,388 thought to be unaffected. Between 2,500 to 3,000 remain left to be assessed. "A good portion of those we believe are unaffected, but we're still gonna go through this process and truly identify it," said Maketa. "But our numbers are coming together better."

Earlier, the City of Colorado Springs revoked the mandatory evacuation for several northern sections of town, but residents returning to those areas should be prepared to show ID at several checkpoints in the area.

"We're still gonna have a small group of firefighters patrolling the area to make sure that we don't get any [fire] brands blowing across, although we think that the chances of that happening [are] slim to none," said interim fire chief Tommy Smith. "We know that the mandatory evacuation was an inconvenience, but we just wanted to make sure that you were safe, so thank you."

With the rain overhead, the mood was light among all speakers. Incident commander Rich Harvey offered this: "We've said all along this has been a teamwork effort, and the firefighters felt real good support today from the people who washed their cars. We very much appreciate the rain that we got today. ...

"Today we had no real problems from the fire," he continued. "All divisions on the fire reported good success; they reported the fire staying where it was at; and they made progress mopping up the hot spots on the interior. No negatives, no structures, no nothing."

A 10 a.m. community meeting tomorrow at Palmer Ridge High School will offer more details on community support, available services, the county's disaster center, and information on what it means for neighborhoods still on pre-evacuation notice.

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