LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation sat out in front of The Dam Store west of Loveland on Highway 34 Saturday. They turned most folks away who had been evacuated from their homes and were trying to get back.
One of those people was Michael Kemp. He and his family have owned land near Glen Haven since the 80s. He thought he would be able to get in to check on his property.
“They said to wait until 10 in the morning. So we showed up at 10 a.m., and we’re all getting turned away,” he said.
That’s because early Saturday the wind picked up and so did the activity at the East Troublesome Fire. A spot fire popped up near Glen Haven and firefighters had to protect structures in the area.
That means Kemp couldn’t go in.
“It’s mental anguish” he said.
It’s especially frustrating for him because he has seen this scenario coming.
“Since the 90s when you went over the top of Trail Ridge and looked over the Grand Lake and Granby area it was just a sea of dead trees.”
Much of the area burning is considered “wilderness area.” Near Kemp’s house is the Comanche Wilderness area. Rules of the wilderness area prevent motor vehicles and chain saws. He says it prevents him from collecting dead trees and firewood unless he does it with a horse and hand saw.
“That means nobody can go in and get rid of any firewood or do anything with the land,” Kemp said. “And the dead trees just keep piling up.”
He wishes someone would have been able to do something to better manage the forest because now the East Troublesome Fire may have taken his home. The last time he was able to check on it was a week ago.
He is worried and says he is unsatisfied with how the fire has been handled.
“The response to these fires has not been adequate. You can’t let fires go on since Aug. 13. They just get bigger and bigger.”
The Cameron Peak Fire started on Aug. 13. The East Troublesome Fire started on Oct. 14.