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Entries in Black Forest Fire (2)

Sunday
Jun162013

Black Forest Fire in Colorado 65 Percent Contained

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Firefighters have contained 65 percent of Colorado’s massive Black Forest Fire and hope to have it fully contained by next week, fire officials told reporters Sunday.

“The crews last night had a good night, nothing backwards, all forwards, so we're real happy with those guys,” said Incident Commander Rich Harvey, praising the efforts of the firefighters who are battling the flames.

There were no deaths or injuries, and no more homes were destroyed by the fire overnight. The people who were missing from the fire zone have now been found safe.

El Paso Sheriff Terry Maketa said that there are still police officers and other law enforcement personnel patrolling the area to protect evacuated homes from looters and to ensure that people heeded the evacuation. According to Maketa, there have been four burglaries.

According to Maketa, it may be days before thousands of evacuees can go home -- not necessairily because of the fire, but because of the debris left in its wake. The roads are clogged with fire trucks, and there are numerous downed trees and power lines. Maketa says it’s too dangerous to send people home just yet.

The sheriff also said he's formed a task of state and ATF agents to try and find the origin and the cause of this blaze.

The fire has destroyed nearly 500 homes and killed two people. Maketa said that a top forensic doctor is working to identify the bodies, but he advised everyone to be patient.

“Don't forget, this isn't CSI,” he said. “It takes a lot of time. He is working with very little evidence to perform this identification.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun152013

Evacuation Orders in Colorado Wildfire Will Be Slowly Lifted

Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- Authorities are placing the containment figure on the Black Forest fire at 45 percent, saying that evacuation orders will begin being slowly lifted.

The wildfire has destroyed nearly 500 homes and is being considered one of the most destructive in Colorado history. Nonetheless, officials are urging residents not to attempt to get around the evacuation orders. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said, "When it is safe and we can open it up, we want to open it up."

Fire crews got a major break Friday after thunderstorms cooled the area down. Decreased winds have also helped to calm the situation, but fire officials say there are still hot spots that could be the catalyst for another fire to burn if drier conditions continue.

Police on Thursday began investigating the deaths of two people found within the fire zone as the wildfire turned deadly.

Two bodies were found in their garage near their car with the doors open Thursday. It appears they were loading last-minute items and had waited too long before evacuating, according to El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who says friends told police they had just talked to the couple who died trying to escape the flames.

"They could see a glow to the West. They were packing their personal belongings to get out," Maketa says friends of the couple told authorities.

Though Maketa has given no indication that the fire was intentionally set to the home, the police have started a criminal investigation into the pair's deaths.

More than 40,000 people were under mandatory orders to evacuate on Thursday, some of which were lifted Friday. During early evacuations, some people refused to leave the area, prompting fears that more bodies could be found.

Sheriff Maketa said Thursday that approximately 38,000 people and 13,000 homes have already been evacuated or affected by the evacuations.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio