Boulder County: 262 homes destroyed; operation transitions from emergency mode to assessment

Boulder County officials say they are transitioning from emergency evacuation mode as the number of people who need to be rescued decreases.

Here is the Boulder County update as of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday:

-- 262 homes destroyed in Boulder County

-- 109 people unaccounted for

-- 9 people were rescued on Tuesday

-- 1,162 people have been evacuated by air so far by National Guard and Fort Carson troops

-- 707 evacuated by ground by National Guard high clearance vehicles

-- Boil water order in effect for Lyons, Mountain Meadows (Allenspark) and Firestone

-- Only business owners in Lyons will be allowed back Wednesday.  Lyons residents will be allowed in on Thursday.

"We've moving out of sort of the high-octane emergency evacuation and search and rescue that we've been doing and we're transitioning to the long and arduous path that lies ahead in regards to recovery," Sheriff Joe Pelle said Wednesday.

Chinooks previously used to rescue people are now dropping in search and rescue teams to look for victims.

"There are teams of urban search and rescue specialists on the ground, in the canyons, going house to searching debris piles, searching vehicles, actively looking for victims and the deceased," Pelle said.

Those crews will also be compiling information about damage assessment, including total number of homes lost or damaged, and total number of businesses damaged or destroyed.

There will be fewer helicopters flying and fewer aircraft based out in Boulder County.

"The mission here is going to continue. We are reassessing the need for so many helicopters," said Colorado National Guard Lt. Mitch Utterback.

He said some of the helicopters will be headed back to Fort Carson but still assigned to the flood response.

"They may be better served sitting at a maintenance facility" to get worked on, Utterback said. "So if you see less helicopters this evening, that doesn't mean they're not available, they're just in a different location."

Pelle commended the work of all the government entities working on the flood response.

"As a local official, as the chief law enforcement officer in my county, you're always hesitant to call in the federal government for help … But I'd like to reassure everybody in our county the integration of the state, local and federal government has been seamless," Pelle said. "We feel blessed to have such a wonderful team to work with ... Despite what you've seen in the past, despite other incidents, this one is going fantastic in regards to the cooperation at every level and the integration of our teams."

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