Colorado Wildfires Rage as Governor Suspends Controlled Burns

Mar 29, 2012 12:06pm

The Colorado wildfires that have killed at least two people and destroyed dozens of homes might not be fully contained until Monday, officials say.

About 500 firefighters fighting the blaze in the mountainous area 25 miles outside of Denver where the wildfires began Monday have managed to gain only 15 percent containment of an 8.5-miles-long fire, Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink said Wednesday.

The fire has swept over 4,500 acres and killed two people, identified Tuesday as Sam Lucas, 77, and Linda Lucas, 76. The husband and wife were found dead at their home, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Neighbors of the couple say it is likely they did not ignore an evacuation order but never got one in time, according to local affiliate KMGH.

The delay in evacuation orders has left some residents angry, including the family whose dramatic, last-minute escape from the fire Monday was caught on tape.

“Yes,” Kim Olson, the mother, told ABC News when asked if there was a failure by officials in issuing evacuation orders.  “How can they afford to do this again?”

Olson, her husband, Doug Gulick, and their three kids fled from their home in two cars Monday when the fire crept too close.  Their escape was captured in a cellphone video shot by son Kaleb, 13.

Daddy?” Kaleb’s brother, Quillan, 4, in the video.  “Where’s mom?  What’s she stopping for?”

“We’re going to make it,” Kaleb says. “We’re going to be fine.”

About 900 homes had been ordered to evacuate and as many as 6,500 homes were on standby orders for evacuation as of Wednesday, according to officials.  The Gulick family managed to escape safely and so did their home, for now.  Their home was still standing but not completely out of danger, they said.

“Through this suspension, we intend to make sure that we have the procedures and protocols in place so that prescribed fire conditions and management requirements are understood and strictly followed,” Hickenlooper said in a statement.

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