Colorado wildfire: 500 firefighters fall short of full containment

Colorado wildfire: 500 firefighters fall short of full containment

02 April 2012

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USA — JEFFERSON COUNTY — Crews were still fighting to contain a wildfire in steep, rugged terrain in Jefferson County Sunday, but they continued to make progress, authorities said.

“It’s not 100 percent contained, we’re not there yet,” Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, said this afternoon. “We’ve still got a lot of firefighters out in the field — 500 — but we still haven’t gotten all the way around it. They’re getting close.”

The fire was at 90 percent containment Saturday evening.

About 100 homes in the Kuehster Road area, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods, remain evacuated.

At the height of the 4,100-acre fire, about 900 homes were evacuated.

Kelley said she could not estimate when those residents would be allowed to return, but said “as quick as we can allow it safely.”

The fire claimed three lives. Human remains found Saturday afternoon in a burned-out home were believed to be those of the resident, 51-year-old Ann Appel.

Appel had been the focus of a massive search. She disappeared when the fire started last Monday afternoon.

Samuel Lucas, 77, and his wife, Linda, 76, were killed at their home as the fire blew up from a few acres to an estimated four square miles in two hours as 70 mph wind gusts struck that afternoon.

The evacuation shelter at West Jefferson Middle School in Conifer has been turned into a “recovery center” for fire victims to help with insurance claims, temporary supplies, counseling and information regarding the recovery.

The Jefferson County Animal Response Team began urging residents to take their animals home Sunday to make room at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds for next weekend’s Golden Junior High and High School Rodeo.

During the evacuation, the fairgrounds housed 245 total animals – 140 horses, 39 alpacas, 16 goats, 41 llamas, three donkeys, two cows, a dog, a mule and two yaks, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

Those with animals at the livestock shelter can call 303-279-7303 to make arrangements to retrieve their animals between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until all the animal are gone, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

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