Boulder Fourmile Canyon update: 87 percent containment, list of 166 destroyed homes

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In the meantime, the injury total for Fourmile stands at just four, "which we're really proud of," says Heule. "Folks on the line are doing a wonderful job of keeping each other safe."

Such firefighters are currently in the process of "shifting from fire suppression to rehabilitation of the fire line." For example, Heule explains, "in places where we cut line in and the line is in an area on a steep slope, where should it rain, it'll collect water, it could run down and create severe erosion. So we have a process of putting in water bars. Those divert water out of the area where we've disturbed the soil in order to minimize runoff and erosion that could take place. And when we're cutting fire line with a bulldozer, that can leave a pretty ugly scar -- but we can do a pretty good job of making it look more natural."

As for the prospect of more severe problems, what with another warm, dry day on tap, Heule says, "We're very confident with our line on the exterior of the fire. However, we do have uncontained line on the interior of the fire, and lots of unburned territory -- and there are several areas where there is some some heat. Those are our concerns -- that and the weather indices, which show the potential for a large fire is greater today than it was yesterday. Our concern is that if something gets going on the interior, and gets the opportunity to get to unburned fuel, it could burn really well. So we want to stay on top of that."

At the same time, Heule emphasizes that the latter is a worst-case scenario. And while the incident command post will remain in place for a few days more even if 100 percent containment is reached later today, firefighters believe the end of the Fourmile crisis is finally near.

"We're extremely grateful to the community for their support," Heule adds. "Not only their support of firefighters, but folks who've been displaced and have had their homes damaged or destroyed. The community came together in an incredible manner right from the get-go, and I'm sure they'll continue to do so when we're long gone."

There'll certainly be a need, as evidenced by the latest roster of destroyed structures: 166 (a little less than the originally reported 172), most of them homes. Page down to see the list, as well as a release about donations, which have positively overwhelmed those tasked with storing them:

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts