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Colorado wildfire: Some evacuees to briefly return under escort

March 30, 2012|By Michael Muskal

Residents displaced by a wildfire in Colorado can briefly return to their homes under escort Friday as the battle against the blaze continues, Jefferson County officials have said. The fire remained at about 45% containment Friday morning.

About 500 firefighters were working to contain the approximately six-square-mile wildfire, apparently started when strong winds scattered what should have been a controlled burn. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Wednesday suspended such burns as a firefighting tool and ordered an investigation into the practice and its rules.

“Today’s fire fighting strategy will be focused on increasing the containment line as well as working on mopping up spot fires; specifically those located on the North East side of the fire,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a post on its emergency blog. “Fire crews are working diligently to strengthen the fire containment line in order to prepare for increased winds that may begin to take shape Saturday evening going into Sunday.”

At least two deaths have been reported. A memorial service for the  couple,  Sam Lamar Lucas, 77, and Linda M. Lucas, 76, is planned for Friday.

One person remains missing. Officials said they have searched 219 acres for the woman, Ann Appel, and plan to scour another 80 acres on Friday.

Residents of about 180 homes remain evacuated. They can return to inspect their property after setting up escorts with the sheriff’s department.

At the height of the fire this week, about 900 homes were evacuated.


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