Lower North Fork Fire 100 Percent Contained


The remaining evacuees from an enormous Colorado wildfire were allowed to return home Monday morning. A few hours later, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office announced the fire was 100 percent contained.

At the peak, 900 homes were evacuated as the Lower North Fork Fire raged in the mountains southwest of Denver. Residents of all but 50 homes were allowed to return home by Sunday.

The fire has scorched thousands of acres, and damaged or destroyed at least 27 homes, and killing two. One woman is still unaccounted for, though human remains were found in her charred home Saturday.

The 4,140-acre fire started March 26 after winds blew embers from a controlled burn across established containment lines into fresh fuels. The 50-acre controlled burn had been conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service.

The Colorado State Forest Service has apologized for its role in causing the fire. The Forest Service says the use of prescribed burns is a well-established tool, and called the unexpected breach of containment “heartbreaking.”

“We are sorry: Despite the best efforts of the Colorado State Forest Service to prevent this very kind of tragic wildfire, we now join Colorado in hoping for the safety of those fighting a large fire, and mourning the loss of life and property,” the Forest Service said in a written statement.

An independent panel is being assembled to conduct a review of the prescribed burn. In the meantime, the Governor has suspended the use of prescribed burns by state agencies on state land until the review is complete.

The bodies of Sam Lucas and Linda Lucas were found burned in their home earlier this week. It's unknown why they didn't escape; a neighbor said they were packed and ready to leave Monday, when the fire started.

The couple were remembered in a service at Southern Gables Church in Littleton Friday.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Rodney on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:50 PM
    The risk of living in a forest and not having a underground shelter like an old potato cellar. We had three on the Homestead down by the Sheep Mts.
  • by dave Location: rolla on Mar 29, 2012 at 05:04 PM
    i am a wild land fire figter and i might be sent out to this fire its a sad day when a burn goes bad and killes or hurts peaple
    • reply
      by anon on Apr 1, 2012 at 03:50 PM in reply to dave
      I'm guessing the qualifications for becoming a wildland firefighter have done down drastically since you can't even form a proper sentence.
      • reply
        by Forester on Apr 1, 2012 at 04:15 PM in reply to anon
        I am also a Wildland Firefighter, and anytime you wanna pack test and take the courses and come dig some line head on down to your local VFD.
        • reply
          by anon on Apr 2, 2012 at 05:14 PM in reply to Forester
          Been there and done that. I put in years as a Firefighter already, but thanks for the offer. With this fire season off to a rough start, might have to get my red card again.
    • reply
      by bob joe on Apr 2, 2012 at 05:57 PM in reply to dave
      i agree
  • by Joe Schmoe on Mar 29, 2012 at 07:14 AM
    Fined? They should be going to jail for manslaughter. If the Governor doesn't fire them and recommend criminal charges, then he needs to be removed from office on the spot.
  • by TK Location: CS on Mar 29, 2012 at 05:09 AM
    I'm surprised the forest service didn't set up a perimeter around the fire to shoot any wild animal trying to escape the fire.
  • by !!! on Mar 29, 2012 at 01:41 AM
    Gee, we're sorry! That's it? They should be fined, sent to prison! They are totally responsible for what has happened! Why are they so high, mighty and untouchable? NOBODY else would get off with a stinking, I'm sorry!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 29, 2012 at 06:59 AM in reply to !!!
      If we, as citizens, had started that fire intentionally or not, we would face prison time even if there was no loss of life! Sorry, but 'sorry' isn't good enough for the families of those who lost their lives and for those who lost property in this fire.
      • reply
        by Forester on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:07 PM in reply to
        The difference is that this is the job they are paid to do and the demand of people (the same people who lost houses and lives) drives these burns. Guess what? If these folks were not living out there they would not be doing this. Let it all burn naturally, see how long that goes before people ask for there prescribed fires back. I have written and implemented burn plans in the past and read this one that is posted on the CSFS site. There is no act outside of protocol, there were several other burns the same day this one took place. It's bad luck and unfortunate. That is the risk involved and not everyone can handle it, but these are people, not animals.
  • by carma Location: colorado on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:29 PM
    I want to know WHY the so called PROFESSIONAL are not held to a higher standard? How dare anyone say to those who have lost their homes and loved ones that because the fire was allowed to happen and got out of control that their not going to be held to the same standards as an arson! How dare you... Terry Barton and the Hayman fire was set by a professional by mistake, and she was held to the proper standard, the Forest Service should not have any type of leeway, they should be held to higher standards not lower!!! THIS SITUATION NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED NOW!
    • reply
      by E on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM in reply to carma
      Wow, your grammar sucks but I think I get what you're trying to say. You have a very emotional and slightly uneducated comment here. All I cam say is, Barton lit the Hayman fire intentionally. Perhaps she didn't intend on letting it get as big as she did, but she committed an illegal act that resulted in that fire. She did not get near the punishment she should have in my opinion, but at least she is not in Colorado any longer. My question to you though, is how do you know those responsible will not be held to the appropriate standard. We don't really know how this started yet. There is a lot of assumptions being made, but all we now is what the media speculates and reports so far.
      • reply
        by Carma on Apr 30, 2012 at 09:54 PM in reply to E
        Barton set a letter on fire put it in a pit which got out of control this was a fire set by the professionals and it has killed people, and see they got off with nothing not even a slap on the hand.
  • by carma Location: colorado on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:14 PM
    BULL! I want to know who voted on this leeway if something like this happened that the forest service would not be held responsible? Terry Barton we got justice and here because the professionals who was in control caused the damage and deaths and are the ones who know how to handle a controlled fire are the ones that caused the damage there will be NO justices BULL! I INVOLVED SHOULD BE CHARGED AND FINED~!!!!!!!
  • by sorry on Mar 28, 2012 at 08:49 PM
    sorry...... I hate that word. Sorry doesn't cut it for these people who lots their homes and for the innocent elderly couple who lost their lives. I hope the family can forgive the forestry division, they apologized after all...... (sarcasm)
  • by sorry on Mar 28, 2012 at 08:46 PM
    sorry we killed your family members. sorry we burned your life and house to the ground. we did it for your safety. really. NOT what dumb a-- would lite a forest fire in one of the driest march's, with high winds all month, and little to no snow pack in the area. Your government would for your safety. Way to go. I feel so safe with my government pulling bone head moves like this. Oh the real story is nothing can be done because they have immunity. NICE! wake up people. your governmnet is not smart or have any common sense. They only want your tax money. They will do what the want and when they want. They want to force you to buy health care. what next chevy cars? I know how about a fire hydrant to put their fires out for them. hey we need video cameras downtown to watch us. do you feel safer or what. sleep tight.
  • by weather Location: colorado on Mar 28, 2012 at 07:02 PM
    I deeply apologize for taking the lives of humans, their pets, and the wildlife that resided in the mountains of Colorado. I've destroyed your homes and any memories of your lives. Your weather teams down there have tried to figure me out for centuries, trying to depict my actions for your next day activities, even through the following week. I've heard Colorado has the saying of...'if you wait 15 to 20 minutes surely the weather will change.' Colorado residents, come on! Haven't you ever been in a town or city, and are getting the worst weather I could wreak havoc on and your family or friend in another town or city is sitting outside enjoying some nice sunny weather?! I've been told I would snow/rain the next few days, and nothing! And there were some instances that you were all told to prepare for my blizzard..and what you get? Not a thing! So my point is, your controlled fire burn crew did exactly what they were told to do, don't be so harsh to judge them thinking they knew what my plans for your weather two weeks ahead. Give them a break and support them! I'm the one to blame! Who knows I might decide to sprinkle a shower or two or give you all a really heavy downpour! Watch for me! I can be your best friend if your worst enemy. Sincerely, your Colorado weather.
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