Clearing Houses

Marshall Fire: 6 months later

Boulder County said 14 permits have been issued for reconstruction so far, a fraction of the 1,000 homes that have burned down.

SUPERIOR, Colo. — Six months after flames tore through suburban neighborhoods, crews are reporting progress clearing tens of thousands of tons of debris from areas damaged and destroyed by the Marshall Fire.

Boulder County contractors trucked in 83,000 tons of ash and 53,000 tons of bricks and concrete, but reconstruction efforts are moving more slowly. The county reports issuing only 14 permits to homeowners wishing to rebuild.

“Recovering from an event of this magnitude will take years,” said Tatiana Hernandez, CEO of the Community Foundation of Boulder County. “The last six months have really been about enveloping us in the enormity of the situation.”

The fire caused more than $500 million in residential damage, Boulder County said. Estimates from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association put the total loss at $2.1 billion.

Hernandez oversees the Community Foundation’s $40 million Marshall Fire Fund, which she says has distributed $9 million and earmarked another $30 million for reconstruction efforts, long-term financial relief and support. to mental health.

“Unbelievably, it’s still not enough,” she said. “There are costs associated with an event like this that no one anticipates and that may not be covered by insurance.”

Construction crews have framed some houses in the burned area, but in the remains of most, stakes suggest plans for future construction. County contractors say 230 homes are in the final stages of clearing.

“Now we’re entering the marathon relay pass. I’d call it the sprint,” Hernandez said of the past six months. “Now we are entering the longest marathon.”

A marathon of inspections, permits and construction on now empty land. Hernandez estimates it will take at least three, possibly five years to rebuild. “We’re going to need everyone to hold us for a while,” she said.

Investigators said their investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing and “taking longer than we all expected,” a spokesperson for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators have “a few more” scheduled interviews to complete and are awaiting several third-party reports before presenting the compiled information to the district attorney’s office.

“We know the community wants to know how the fire started and we’re sure people are asking why things are taking so long, again we want to investigate thoroughly and we don’t want to rush the process and risk missing crucial evidence,” spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield said.

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