DENVER (CBS4) – Victims of the Lower North Fork Fire went to the state Capitol on Monday hoping the state will let them to ask for more compensation.
The fire started when a controlled burn got out of control 10 weeks ago.
On Monday Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three bills. One bill deals with homeland security and preparing the state to deal with terrorism and other emergencies like wildfires.
The two other bills relate directly to the Lower North Fork Fire. One would add prescribed burns to the list of waivers allowing victims to seek more than the $600,000 compensation cap from government entities. The second creates a commission to investigate a fire’s cause and how to avoid a repeat.
“We’re all grateful this legislation has been signed,” said Scott Appel, who lost his wife and all he owned in the fire.
The scene of the Lower North Fork Fire remains bleak, filled with scorched trees, burned homes and vehicles. Three people died and 23 homes were destroyed. People who kept their homes have considerable concern for the other victims.
“I hope these people get compensated for everything they lost. You can’t compensate a life, but everything else that’s there that should be compensated for,” Conifer resident Jim Chambers said.
There is also a question about property values decreasing now that spectacular views have been marred by the fire. Most of the people who lost their homes will be required by their insurance companies to rebuild on the same location.
Even with the governor’s signature the victims will still have to ask a review board to approve any increased settlement.