It has been a little more than six months since the most destructive fire in Colorado history killed two people and destroyed 488 homes in the Black Forest area served by Tri-State member Mountain View Electric Association (Limon, Colo.).
Today, at least a dozen new homes are rising from the charred ruins and the co-op’s line crews are closing in on repairing service infrastructure destroyed in the blaze, according to Darryl Edwards, Mountain View Electric’s member services manager.
Edwards estimates that approximately 80 percent of the lines, poles, meters and other power supply equipment have been repaired or replaced in the impacted areas and according to El Paso County officials, approximately 90 construction permits had been issued in the Black Forest area by early December.
“We are now starting to shift our restoration efforts to lining up our contractors to begin clearing ‘hazard trees’ that pose a threat to our lines,” Edwards explained. “This is a major undertaking that could involve the cutting and removal of up to 20,000 trees — some of which are on private property and require landowner approval before we can cut them down,” he said.
Edwards pointed out that the co-op has received an extension from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through June of 2014 to complete this task. FEMA is shouldering 75 percent of the $5 million to $6 million cost of removing the hazard trees, as well as providing similar funding to assist El Paso County in removing dead or dying trees near roadways. Continue reading ‘Rising from the ashes: Mountain View consumers rebuilding after deadly fire’