More access coming to Marshall fire burn area as search for 2 missing residents continues – The Denver Post

Four days after the Marshall fire rampaged through Boulder County, authorities are still searching for two missing people, while more and more residents and business owners will soon be allowed back into the burn area to inspect the damage.

Downtown Superior, along with the Spanish Hills neighborhood, is expected to reopen to residents and business owners Monday afternoon, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at an afternoon news conference.

In neighboring Louisville, town officials are implementing a pass system for residents to access homes and businesses behind the “soft closure” roadblocks, police Chief Dave Hayes said Monday.

Pelle also confirmed that the investigation into what started the 6,219-acre wildfire on Thursday includes the Twelve Tribes compound and surrounding area, but declined to give additional details, saying it could take a while for the cause to be determined. Investigators have already interviewed dozens of people with the help of the FBI, he said.

“The stakes are huge,” Pelle said.

Witnesses told The Denver Post on Sunday that investigators have frequented the Twelve Tribes property, home to a Christian religious sect, near Colorado 93 and Marshall Road in recent days.

Xcel Energy reported Monday that 400 customers are still without electricity in the burn area, while the company has restored natural gas to 5,000 of the 13,000 people whose service was disrupted in the area. The company has handed out 20,000 space heaters as it works to restore the utilities, said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado.

Boulder County authorities urged those affected by the fire to go to the Disaster Assistance Center, 1755 South Public Road in Lafayette, between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m to receive myriad services, including mental and public health services, housing assistance, and help with Federal Emergency Management Agency aid and insurance. The recovery will be open seven days a week for at least a few weeks, officials said.

Those seeking services can also go to boco.org/marshallfire

“Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Garry Sanfaçon, Boulder County’s disaster recovery manager, urging those affected to focus on self-care and returning to daily activities and hobbies as they cope with the fire’s aftermath.

The Marshall fire, spurred by hurricane-force winds and bone-dry conditions exacerbated by climate change, tore through Superior, Louisville and unincorporated Boulder County on Thursday, destroying nearly 1,000 homes and businesses. The fire is the most destructive wildfire in state history.

Officials previously said they fear the two missing people have died, while a third person — initially reported missing — was found Sunday.

“This is gonna be a long road back for many families,” Gov. Jared Polis said at Monday’s news conference.

Source: Read Full Article