Despite lack of wildfire containment, tactics have saved lives, homes

July 5, 2013 at 3:01 PM
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DENVER, July 5 (UPI) -- A Colorado wildfire has burned more than 110,000 acres, but the use of diverse tactics has resulted in no losses of homes or other structures, officials say.

The West Fork Complex fire in southwest Colorado is only 20 percent contained after a month, but a fire information officer says "containment is not how you measure progress," The Denver Post reported Friday.

In deciding how and where to fight the fire, officials consider the closeness of homes and infrastructure as well as concerns about terrain, weather and safety, said Bobby Kitchens.

Firefighters have considered each step against the fire, he said.

"As it goes through dead spruce stands, we're not going in there," Kitchens said. "We'll allow it to burn through those stands and catch it when it comes out the other side, at a highway or river. The fire will be controlled. We're just being different in the way we approach it."

Such considerations have meant that firefighters have reported only two minor injuries and residents of South Fork have been able to return to the town that was once on the edge of being caught up in the inferno.

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