BOULDER, Colo., (CBS4) – A total of 26 homes were lost or damaged due to the CalWood Fire, officials said Sunday evening, though that number is expected to increase when damage assessment teams return to some of the affected areas. According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, the majority of the damaged structures were on the east side of the burn area.
The fire started in the middle of the day Saturday and has since burned 8,788 acres, making it the largest fire Boulder County has ever seen. It is 5% contained.
“When you see that smoke and those flames coming over the edge, it’s super scary, said Steve Stewart, who lives on Foothills Ranch Drive.
With a burn scar infringing on subdivisions near Highway 36 and Nelson Road, and hotspots still smoldering, homeowners did their own makeshift damage assessments from afar Sunday. Even from a distance, it was easy to see the CalWood Fire’s path was both destructive and indiscriminate, destroying some homes and leaving others nearby untouched.
One example is the situation on Foothills Ranch Drive, where 4 of 7 homes were either destroyed or damaged.
“He told me that my house did catch fire,” said Steve Stewart, recalling a phone conversation with a firefighter from Nederland. “They were able to get it under control and put it out.”
“It’s gone, it’s rubble,” Todd Walsh said of his home three doors down. “You can see it up on the hillside.”
On Saturday, both families scrambled to flee their homes when evacuation orders went in place. But despite a barrage of firefighting resources in the air and on ground, strong winds pushed the fire east from Jamestown, claiming 3 neighboring homes.
“To hear that resources from other areas are coming here and helping us, I’m speechless,” Walsh said.
While the Stewart family received a video from firefighters showing their efforts to save the home Saturday night, the Walsh family received a video of their home on fire. Photos taken by firefighters Sunday morning show the new, heartbreaking reality the Walsh family will share with countless other Boulder County residents.
“There’s going to be a ton of people that need all of our help,” Walsh said. “We’re going to be fine, but it would be really nice to see, and I know we will, the community rally and help out.”
For them, that includes helping the crews fighting each new fire, as well as those finding out their homes were in the path of destruction. On Sunday, after an influx of people offering their help and services, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management set up a webpage for donation inquiries.
“We’re here to stick together as a neighborhood and help one another the best we can through this horrific time,” Stewart said.
Boulder OEM has also posted a list of the 26 homes lost or damaged to the fire.
In total, more than 1,600 hundred homes were evacuated Saturday. A number of evacuation orders remain in place.