BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Cleanup is underway in Boulder County's Sagamore neighborhood a little more than two weeks after the devastating Marshall Fire.
The work began Friday to remove cars, trailers, downed trees and anything else from the rights of way, like streets and sidewalks.
"That's gonna be a significant undertaking for our contractor," Boulder County Public Works spokesperson Andrew Barth said. "This is going to clear us a path to our private properties that will start cleaning up... with the debris removal program."
The charred remains of multiple burned cars lined several streets, a sign that people had just minutes to grab their belongings.
In Boulder County’s Sagamore neighborhood today where crews have started removing burned cars, trailers, etc., on the county’s right-of-way, like streets & sidewalks. Process could take about a month as they suspect they have to remove 1,300+ of them. @DenverChannel #MarshallFire pic.twitter.com/91GUhSbryU— Pattrik Perez (@PattrikPerez) January 14, 2022
Barth said the whole process could take up to at least a month because the county believes there are about 1,300 vehicles or other wheeled objects to remove.
"They'll be out there seven days a week 'til it's cleared," he said.
Once crews finish in the Sagamore neighborhood, they'll move on to seven other neighborhoods. Old Town Superior is next on the list.
Cars removed from these neighborhoods will be taken to a secure location. Vehicle owners and their insurance companies who want to visit the site to look at a vehicle should send an email to ROE@bouldercounty.org or call (303) 214-3203.
When all the rights of way are cleared, the second phase of the county's debris removal will begin. That'll include curbside collection of smoke- or wind-damaged items, — like fencing, patio furniture and vegetable waste — from homes that survived the fire.
Then, in February, the county hopes to begin the real cleanup by removing debris from where homes once stood.
"The first thing we really need people to do is fill out a right of entry form," Barth said.
Opting in or out, using this form, will grant or deny county crews permission to remove debris from a homeowner's property. Some homeowners may choose to opt out if they've hired their own private contractors for debris removal.
The process could take between six to 18 months, depending on whether crews find any environmental or structural problems.
"In the long run, the financial incentive is there for us to do the work for you," Barth said. "That'll leave a lot bigger chunk of change, we hope, for people to rebuild when that time comes."