Prior to the start of Thursday’s community meeting, Garry Sanfaçon issued warnings to residents affected by the Marshall Fire.
“Tonight, we won’t be able to answer all of your questions — we don’t know all the answers yet,” said Sanfaçon, Boulder County’s disaster recovery manager. “There are a lot of unknowns.”
Several unknowns were discussed at the meeting, which was held via Zoom for residents of Louisville, Superior and unincorporated Boulder County. Attendees had the opportunity to ask Marshall Fire responders — including Boulder County officials and a representative from the nonprofit United Policyholders — questions about debris removal, insurance, and the quality of the air.
Residents were able to submit questions ahead of the meeting, as well as ask questions in Zoom format.
To clean up properties in the burned area, a county-backed debris removal program has been underway since Jan. 13. During the meeting, many residents asked questions regarding the schedule for the debris removal program, as well as what exactly qualifies as debris on private property.
Boulder County Resource Conservation Division Manager Darla Arians said the first phase of the debris removal program is already complete, with three more phases remaining until the reconstruction phase can begin. . Next steps for the program include right-of-way debris removal, curbside debris removal and private property debris removal. Arians estimated that the plan would be completed by the end of February.
She was unable to respond to what exactly would be considered debris in the private property removal plan, as Boulder County is currently awaiting FEMA approval for the removal. private debris.
Many residents who returned to their homes or properties in the burned area expressed concern about the air quality.
According to Boulder County Public Health Director Camille Rodriguez, BCPH has installed air monitoring stations throughout the burn area and is working to install more to provide residents with the most up-to-date information on particle monitoring.
Rodriguez warned that as the weather changes over the next two months, air quality will vary, and BCPH will work with area hospitals to investigate the data and identify any air quality-related respiratory illnesses. the air.
Finally, Kerri Waite, coordinator of United Policyholders in Colorado, urged residents to consider when it would be safe to return to damaged homes.
Waite acknowledged that while many residents are eager to return home as soon as possible, returning too soon can affect insurance eligibility. She advised residents not to return until an inspection, clearance tests and corrective actions were completed.
Although only a handful of questions posed by residents were discussed at the meeting, Boulder County officials said they will work to get all questions answered and will post responses to the Marshall Fire FAQ Page.
Sanfaçon also assured viewers that as more information becomes available, the county is committed to being transparent.
“We’re not going anywhere, county, towns and city – we’re not going anywhere. Our staff are committed to working with and alongside you to find ways to support you in this recovery,” Sanfaçon said.