El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa speaks during Sunday’s media briefing. EPC Commission Chair Dennis Hisey on the left. (L. Ruskin)

The Black Forest Fire is now 65% contained, yet thousands of displaced residents are still unable to go home, or see what remains of it. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, throngs of evacuees now come to the daily media briefings, and their frustrations are growing.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

El Paso County Commission Chair Dennis Hisey yesterday began describing plans for when residents will be allowed back in their homes. The county plans to supply drinking water, shovels, trash bags, even tetanus shots to keep people safe once they start what will be a massive cleanup. But Sheriff Terry Maketa tried to dial back the crowd’s expectations.

“I don’t want to create a false belief that tomorrow everybody’s going home, because that’s not going to happen. We have a crime scene in there. We have fire in there. We have downed powerlines in there. We have trees falling.”

Maketa says he’s allowed people in to retrieve medication or pets but some then refused to leave. He says he’ll arrest such residents if he has to.

After the press conference, a crowd met with the sheriff away from the media. Some left angry, saying they should be allowed in to defend their homes from looters. Two residents stood at a map of the evacuation zone arguing whether the borders were justified.

Others kept their cool, like Pix Pixley. The 70-something real estate appraiser left home on foot when he first saw smoke, carrying a cat in one hand and leading his horse with the other. As far as he knows, his house is still standing.

“The good part is, my office is in my house, so I’ve had a week vacation, and I haven’t had one in years.”

He came to the press conference wearing a borrowed Hawaii shirt and hiking shorts, the picture of calm.

Sheriff Maketa has continually assured residents their neighborhoods are under constant patrol. By mid-day Sunday he had four burglary cases and one case of impersonating a fire or police official, all of which he said would be prosecuted with vigor.

 

Comments are closed.

News

ROSCOSMOS
September 2, 2014 | NPR · A returned space capsule was opened to reveal frozen gecko remains inside, disappointing scientists. On the bright side, the fruit flies that were aboard made it.
 

September 2, 2014 | NPR · To learn more about the recent celebrity photo hack, Melissa Block speaks with Matthew Green of Johns Hopkins University. They discuss how the photos might have been obtained.
 

NPR
September 2, 2014 | NPR · A database of every item the Pentagon has sent to local, state and federal authorities since 2006 sheds light on the massive scope, and evolution, of the 1033 program.
 

Arts & Life

iStockphoto
September 2, 2014 | NPR · For iPad users who are nostalgic for the clickety-clack of keystrokes and “ding!” of the carriage return, Hanks has created Hanx Writer, an app that simulates using a typewriter.
 

Bloomsbury
September 2, 2014 | NPR · Growing up, I knew two kinds of apples: red and green. Then I started dating an apple enthusiast and discovered we are in the midst of a rare apple renaissance.
 

AFP/Getty Images
September 2, 2014 | NPR · Also: the man who dug through John Updike’s trash; a new biography of Robin Williams.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
September 2, 2014 | NPR · The instrumental hip-hop band’s third record is their first of completely original material.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 2, 2014 | NPR · “The music that I make can be related to anybody all over the world,” Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab says of his uprooted life, which informs a masterful blend of R&B, shoegaze, African and country music.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 2, 2014 | WXPN · Chicago folk artist Crow Moses is a veteran of sorts in his city’s music scene, but the name might not be familiar.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab