Thousands of evacuees are returning to their homes as the Black Forest Fire north of Colorado Springs reaches 85% containment. But as KRCC's Andrea Chalfin reports, the number of homes lost has now surpassed 500. Tuesday evening's latest update shows the total homes destroyed as 509, and assessments continue.
El Paso County officials continue combing through burned areas to identify which homes are lost. In some cases, surveyors can finally access the areas. In others, it requires more research from the assessor’s office. Sheriff Terry Maketa says although celebrations are warranted for homes still standing, it’s important to remember neighbors who aren’t so fortunate.
"I drive through that neighborhood every day, a couple times a day, and every time I look at a foundation, what I see is somebody losing every memory they ever created that they can never buy, replace or recapture."
Officials have also identified the two fatalities as 52-year-old Marc Herklotz and his wife, 50-year-old Robin. Both were long-time members of Air Force Space Command.