GRANBY, Colo. (CBS4) — The Grand County sheriff said Tuesday that approximately 100 structures have burned, and “we’re finding more every direction that we turn around.” Officials urged evacuees to be patient, saying the snowstorm has really helped stop the spread of the East Troublesome Fire, but it is making things more difficult for crews trying to assess the damage to homes.
“The snow has been very effective at slowing things down, eliminating any fire spread,” Incident Commander Noel Livingston said Tuesday.
However, now firefighters and assessment teams are dealing with freezing temperatures, slick roads and hazards they can’t see under the snow.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said it’s a slow and difficult process to get into the burn areas and check each home.
“We’re in the range of 100 or so at this point,” Schroetlin said when questioned about the number of structures burned. “Honestly, I don’t know… we’re finding more every direction that we turn around.”
“You know, we get down these roads and we look like things are looking, looking up, and then we find a house that is an unfortunate mishap,” Schroetlin said.
Schroetlin said it’s difficult to identify what was a home and what were other types of structures like garages and barns.
Schroetlin said one major problem is that not everyone has filled out the Evacuee(s) Registration Form on the Grand County website. He urged all residents and vacation home owners to do that right away.
On Tuesday, the fire size remained at roughly 192,000 acres and was 20% contained. The containment line is primarily on the southern and southeastern border of fire.
Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park is not contained — officials said crews are working on suppression on the east side of the fire, but added, “we’re not going to have a line all the way around it.”
Officials warned that this snowstorm does not mean wildfire season is over.
“This is not a season ending event, necessarily,” Livingston said.
The fire is expected to continue to smolder in heavier concentrations of dead/downed fuels, but no growth is expected.