By Conor McCue

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – While the Marshall Fire destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Boulder County, many are still standing, and for those homeowners the county will begin picking up debris on the curb Monday.

(credit: CBS)

The curbside cleanup is one of several phases in the long recovery process ahead and concentrates on smoke and wind-damaged household items.

“We had a lot of smoke damage in our house,” said Raj Chohan, CBS4 legal analyst and resident of the Spanish Hills neighborhood. “We also had a lot of fire debris around our house.”

From torched bushes to smoke stained couches, damaged belongings are plentiful at Chohan’s home, which is one of the few still standing on his street. With collection beginning in two days, time is running out to get everything to the curb.

“We knew that was going to be a lot of work to have to remove all that stuff,” Chohan said.

On Saturday, that work was made easier, thanks to volunteers with the Cajun Navy, one of several groups helping the county follow up on smoke and wind damage assessments.

“We basically call and check with you, see what your job is, see what materials, people, tools we need to do the job,” said Jay Carter, incident commander for the Cajun Navy, a disaster relief organization.

For Carter and his dozen volunteers, the work includes cutting down trees, and bringing furniture to the curb. Some days, the group can assist multiple homeowners and others they’ll focus on one.

“We separate into piles, the trees we put into their own pile so that the county and city can come get that and take it to the proper location,” Carter said.

(credit: CBS)

Homeowners can receive assistance from a volunteer organization by calling the debris hotline at 303-214-3203 or emailing ROE@bouldercounty.org. According to Carter, the Cajun Navy will continue helping the county for at least another week.

“We work in the rain, the snow, the hot, it doesn’t matter. We’re just here to help,” Carter said.

The group hopes its work takes away some amount of burden from affected homeowners who still have so much uncertainty ahead.

“It’s just really a lift that we needed right now. It just takes a weight off our shoulders and we’re so appreciative,” Chohan said.

The curbside removal program will begin on Monday, Jan. 31 and is expected to take about two weeks. Residents with smoke and wind-damaged items can register for pickup by completing this online assessment form: www.BoCo.org/MarshallFireSelfReport. Items must be placed curbside.

The county will update an online map to show which areas are complete, which areas are currently receiving collection, and which areas are next.

You can learn more about the Cajun Navy and support the group’s efforts on its website. The organization, which responds to disasters across the country, relies on donations and volunteers.

Conor McCue