(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
Matt McFarland, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Frank Pallotta, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN