Commission Looking At Lower North Fork Wildfire Mistakes

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A state commission is meeting Monday to hear from experts and residents about mistakes and cleanup efforts for the deadly Lower North Fork wildfire in March.

The March wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver killed three people and damaged two dozen houses, causing at least $11 million in property damage. At the peak, 900 homes were evacuated as the Lower North Fork Fire raged in the mountains southwest of Denver.

The 4,140-acre fire started March 26 after winds blew embers from a controlled burn on state forest land. The 50-acre controlled burn had been conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service and was believed to be extinguished.

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.”

The five-member commission is reviewing legislation or policies that could improve the response to future blazes.

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