BOULDER, COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – For the second day in a row, a patch of open space near the CalWood fire burn area became a place of fascination for some and devastation for others. In the distance, onlookers could see several subdivisions the wildfire ripped through over the weekend.
“It’s a scary time that fires can just wipe out a whole neighborhood,” said Cindy Avery.
The fire started Saturday and has since burned 8,788 acres, making it the largest fire Boulder County has ever seen. It is 15% contained.
A total of 26 homes were lost or damaged due to the fire, officials said. On Monday, damage assessment teams went out again and did not identify any more.
“There has been no additional lost structures, no additional damaged structures, we’re not aware of anything that was lost in suppression efforts,” Boulder County Sheriff Division Chief Mike Wagner said in an afternoon briefing.
So far, the Mountain Ridge subdivision appears to be the hardest hit. According to a list of addresses released by the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, 1 home was damaged and 17 were destroyed.
“I mean, if I had stayed in the house for 10 more minutes, I wouldn’t be here to talk to you. I know that for a fact,” said Jack Hanna.
Hanna has called the neighborhood home for 16 years. He’d recently put his house on the market following another heartbreaking loss.
“Unfortunately, my wife just died two months ago, so this is kind of the double whammy for me,” He said.
Robin and Cindy Avery also lost their dream home Saturday. The couple was able to pack up some belongings and their pets before getting out, but Cindy Avery said she still regrets leaving behind letters her father wrote while a prisoner of war during World War II.
“Things like that that you don’t really think about because you think you’re coming back,” Cindy said.
“We held out some hope that our house would be spared, but the next word we got from the authorities is that they were all gone,” Robin said.
Yet, somehow, the same can’t be said for Larry Koenigsberg, who lives 1/16 of mile away in the Lake of the Pines subdivision.
“I don’t think we’re out of the woods, but I’m grateful knowing that me and my neighbors, so far the fire has not reached the neighborhood,” Koenigsberg said.
With two neighborhoods experiencing two different outcomes, the CalWood Fire’s path appears as random as it was destructive.
“We got out, everybody got out, and that’s the most important thing,” Cindy Avery said.
Of the 26 total properties damaged or lost due to this fire, all but three were on the east side of the ridge near Highway 36. The sheriff’s office said damage on the other side was limited to a barn and two vacant cabins.