Black Forest Fire Expected to be Controlled Today; Firefighting Costs Estimated at $8.5 Million

Several mandatory evacuation points could be lifted today for a fire that has devastated a massive swath of land north of Colorado Springs.
June 2013

The cleanup cost for the Black Forest fire outside Colorado Springs is expected to top $8.5 million as firefighters mop up the remnants of the now nine-day-old blaze.

Fire officials said this week that 85 percent of the blaze is now contained, and that the fire might be completely under control today despite temperatures that were expected to reach the upper 80s and low 90s.

Overall, the fire has claimed 509 homes and burned through 14,280 acres of pine and shrubby oak just north of Colorado Springs. Nearly 1,000 homes that cover roughly 9,500 acres are still under mandatory evacuation.

The fire is responsible for the deaths of 52-year-old Marc Allen Herkoltz and his 50-year-old wife, Robin, as they attempted to flee the blaze late last week. Friends of the couple said this week that the pair was removing ammunition and other combustibles from their home as a safety precaution for firefighters. The Denver Post reported that Marc Herkoltz was a civilian employee with the Innovation Division of Space Command’s Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations Directorate. Robin Herkoltz was an Air Force contractor.

Some residents in the burn area briefly visited their properties on Wednesday and several mandatory evacuation areas are expected to be reopened today. A list of homes in the burn area can be found here.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock