COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Good news from the Black Forest Fire -- El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa announced Monday that it has been another day of no growth and no lost structures.
Officials also announced the fire is now 75 percent contained. Teams got help yesterday from the weather as steady rain moved through the densely wooded Black Forest near Colorado Springs Sunday afternoon.
However, the storm also brought lightning which caused three new starts in the fire perimeter, according to Incident Commander Rich Harvey. Harvey said firefighters put out the new "starts."
On Monday evening, the sheriff's office also updated the property damage assessment for the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history: 502 homes destroyed, 18 damaged and 3,651 unaffected by the 22-square-mile fire. View a complete list of the homes lost: http://ch7ne.ws/13CR4lB
Meanwhile, Sheriff Maketa downgraded the following streets from mandatory evacuation to pre-evacuation status on Monday: Abert Way, Kaibab Court, Oak Chief Way, Briddle Bit Road, Morris Trail, Kakatosi Lane, West of Tahosa Lane to Kakatosi Lane.
Residents can access the area on Shoup Road. Residents will need to show their driver’s license or vehicle registration to reenter the area. Officials asked residents to not remove flags posted on their property, because they are a signal to first-responders the area has been cleared for reentry.
While the lack of visible smoke and flames may be giving some a false sense that the fire is over and done, Maketa said there are still hot spots burning.
Maketa said officials are working to get evacuees home as quickly as possible.
"We have begun an aggressive repopulation of some of those mandatory evacuated areas," Maketa said.
On Monday morning, officials reopened a section on the north side of the fire that Maketa called the "east rabbit ears." (See new evacuation map below or click here: http://ch7ne.ws/18SxyHo)
There were several reports of looting over the weekend but no new reports of looting occured overnight. Maketa said a large law enforcement presence continues. He said someone came into the area on an ATV and that person was swarmed by near a dozen law enforcement officers.
Two people have been killed in the fire, which broke out last Tuesday afternoon around 1 p.m. They have not been identified but authorities expect to release their names sometime Monday.
Their bodies were found in the garage and their car doors were open. Maketa said they appeared to be in the process of evacuating.
-- Investigation into fire continues --
The investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
"We are zeroing in on the point of origin," Maketa said. "It's a very slow, methodical process."
Maketa said the El Paso County Sheriff's Office has brought in additional experts to make sure they are not missing anything.
Investigators know the fire started on the southwest corner of the burn zone. They believe it was human-caused.
Despite a report of a possible missing person in the last 24 hours, Maketa said that person was found and all of the missing have been found.
Hundreds of personnel continue to work in the fire zone, but the military helicopters that were assisting the fight were reassigned to other wildfires on Sunday.
Crews hope to have the Black Forest Fire fully under control by Thursday.
About 4,160 people remain evacuated. As of Monday morning, the wildfire had already cost more than $5.5 million to fight.
See the map of the containment around the area: http://ch7ne.ws/1279HtV
View Black Forest Fire Evacuation Map in a larger map