The Black Forest Fire that has ravaged a large wooded area outside Colorado Springs, Colo., is reportedly more than halfway contained. The wildfire is the most destructive fire in Colorado history, claiming 485 homes -- and killing two people -- since it began June 11.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported the Black Forest Fire was 65 percent contained, according to firefighting officials who conducted a press conference Sunday at noon MDT (2 p.m. EDT).
While El Paso County Sheriff’s Office personnel are employing dental records to identify the two people who perished in the fire, it may take another 24 hours to conclusively determine their identities. “Don’t forget, this isn’t ‘CSI,’” Sheriff Terry Maketa said at the press conference. Maketa explained that the two victims of the fire lingered at their home too long after an evacuation order was given. They “saw it coming and they talked about it coming ... they were trying to save property,” he said.
On Thursday, more than 41,000 residents of the Colorado Springs area were reportedly evacuated from their homes as the fire marched south from Black Forest to Colorado Springs. Now, with most of the flames under control, several families are already making their way back home, NBC News reported. As many as 5,000 people are now able to return to their homes.
“We’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster over this, thinking we had lost everything and then to find out that it’s still there,” Colorado Springs resident Judy Roe told the Associated Press, NBC News said. “It was a big relief to us, but, I mean, our hearts were breaking for our neighbors.”
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Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama called Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to express his “gratitude and appreciation for the brave men and women fighting tirelessly to combat these devastating fires.”
The Black Forest Fire has grown exponentially since it started last Tuesday afternoon just northeast of Colorado Springs. The fire has now claimed the record as Colorado’s most destructive wildfire, topping last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire, about 10 miles from Colorado Springs, which was a huge blaze that led to the deaths of two people and the destruction of 346 homes.