COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Firefighters searching for bodies in the roughly 350 homes burned by the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history found a second body Friday at a residence where earlier another person was discovered dead.
As crews on the front lines made slow but steady progress against the flames, police Chief Pete Carey said fewer than 10 people altogether were unaccounted for. The remains of one person were found Thursday in what was left of one home. He confirmed that the remains of a second person who lived there were found Friday.
The 26-square-mile blaze – one of several wildfires burning across the tinder-dry West – was reported to be 25 percent contained, and authorities began lifting some of the evacuation orders for the more than 30,000 people who fled their homes a few days ago.
After growing explosively earlier in the week, the fire gained no ground overnight, authorities reported Friday. And the weather was clear and mostly calm, a welcome break from the lightning and high wind that drove the flames.
President Barack Obama toured the stricken areas Friday after issuing a disaster declaration for Colorado that frees up federal funds. He thanked firefighters and other emergency workers, saying: “The country is grateful for your work. The country’s got your back.”
As residents waited anxiously to see what was left of their homes, police reported several burglaries in evacuated areas, along with break-ins of cars packed with evacuees’ possessions outside hotels.
Carey said Friday a person wearing protective fire gear in an evacuated area was arrested on charges of impersonating a firefighter and influencing a public official.