166 structures lost to Fourmile Canyon Fire; 87% contained

7:31 PM, Sep 12, 2010   |    comments
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On last report, a total of 172 structures, including 169 homes, had been destroyed by the fire which started on Monday morning. Sunday a new list was released saying 159 homes had been destroyed and 7 other structures were lost to the fire.

As of Sunday evening, the fire was 87 percent contained, burning 6,427 total acres. No additional structures have been destroyed. Terry Krasko, a spokesman for the national Type 1 incident team estimated $6,775,000 has been spent on the fire so far.

About 3,000 people were evacuated after it broke out and about 1,000 firefighters were still on the line on Saturday working to contain it.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office announced it opened parts of Mountain Pines subdivision at noon Sunday. The area includes Left Fork Road and Mountain King Road, but not Arkansas Mountain Road.

All residents will need passes to provide access into their neighborhood, according to authorities.

Evacuees can get a pass at the Boulder County Justice Center at 6th and Canyon between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. This is for when the mandatory evacuation is lifted.

Evacuees are asked to bring a form of identification and complete a form for tracking purposes. There will also be a short informational meeting to address safety issues in the evacuated zone. You can find this information on the Boulder Office of Emergency Management's website.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office says evacuees who cannot pick up a pass on Sunday will be able to get one at the Justice Center during normal business hours.

Fire officials warned that much of the area is dangerous because of downed power lines and poles, damaged roads and exposed mine shafts.

Still, Boulder firefighting operations were being scaled back and some crews were being relieved six days after the wildfire erupted and quickly destroyed at least 166 homes.

Officials said full containment was expected by Monday evening.

Firefighters monitored the fire lines through Saturday. They had extinguished the few hot spots they found Friday night. An infrared scan was also done to provide a quick and accurate overview of where the fire is burning the hottest.

The results of the flight didn't show the large pockets of intense heat that were once seen in the burn area, but instead there are several areas of isolated heat that remain according to the Great Basin Incident Management Team.

They have made 78 drops, dropping 156,000 gallons of retardant, since the fire began.
The cause of the fire remains an open investigation.

About 2,000 people were allowed to return to their homes on Friday. Xcel Energy and Qwest Communications are just beginning to get the utilities repaired in the area. Krasko said on Saturday morning that telephone connections and electricity was being restored to some of the subdivisions outside the burn area.

No word has been given on when the remaining residents could return to the homes that still remain evacuated in the area. Crews are still working to get a containment line around the burn area before people can go back in.

"They're still putting out fires in that perimeter, so the fire perimeter is not getting any bigger, but they're working inside to make it safer for residents to come back. It's just not time yet," Krasko said.

Authorities say one resident was arrested in the evacuation area for going back across the lines three separate times.

Gov. Bill Ritter met with incident commanders again on Friday and reiterated his confidence in them. Earlier this week, Ritter pledged $5 million toward the effort to extinguish the blaze that has already scorched 169 homes, the most ever lost in a Colorado wildfire.

Ritter says $4 million of that money has already been spent and authorized an additional $200,000 on Thursday to assist with firefighting costs.

The governor also expressed his gratitude to those on the front lines fighting the blaze.

To those that did lose everything to the fire, the American Red Cross is offering counseling services.

"Not knowing of the status of your home or wondering if you've lost everything you own is, of course, is emotionally troubling. It's traumatic to live through something like that. So we always want to make sure that people have access comfort and counseling," Patricia Billinger with the American Red Cross said.

Evacuees can also find help in the form of clothing, shoes and supplies from charities like Colorado Friendship.

"We just want to supply them with everything and when people in Boulder heard that, that is what the outpouring is like," Ron Craig with Colorado Friendship said.

"It's the basics of life, really. If you don't know if you have a house to go back to or other people that already know that their house is burned down, it's kind of like where do you go from here?" Ian Metzger, an evacuee, said.

If evacuees need supplies, they can go to the YMCA at 28th and Mapleton Streets. Volunteers there are happy to help.

The Victims Assistance Center is still open at 3482 N. Broadway to assist anyone who has been affected by the fire.


(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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