Colorado Springs residents, many of whom have been away from their homes for several days, were allowed to return to what remained of their houses on Sunday. The wildfires, which are being called the most destructive of its kind in Colorado history, forced thousands of people to evacuate the city as it blazed a 17,659 acre trail across the state. At last count, 346 homes and communities were laid to waste as a result.
Sadly, sifting through the rubble might be the least of their concerns at the moment. Bears and other wildlife have been spotted in these deserted neighborhoods searching for food. Unfortunately, opportunistic burglars have been seen in the area as well; two houses were recently looted, bringing the total number to 24. In order to keep these bandits off the streets and out of people's homes, the National Guard has been brought in to police the wreckage.
However, despite all of the hard work that still lies head, officials are confident that Colorado Springs will find its footing before long. "Now we're beginning to look at how do we rebuild and begin the recovery. But we also know that Mother Nature can be pretty fickle out there, so we're keeping ourselves very alert," Governor John Hickenlooper explained to CNN.
Although some people were allowed to remain in their homes -- a large number of which are still without power -- the vast majority of folks were only permitted to view their property in order to survey the damage. Once visiting hours were over, they were asked to leave the premises.
Firefighters continue to battle the blaze in Grand Junction in western Colorado, where the last remaining fire burns out of control. The other six are presently thought to be contained.