Marshall fire debris cleanup is complete, Boulder county says

Boulder County reached an important milestone for those who lost their homes in December’s Marshall fire.

The county announced Wednesday that its program for removing the remains of burned homes and all the furniture, cars, appliances and other charred debris is complete. Now, residents can start rebuilding their homes or put their vacant lots on the market.

“The county is definitely excited that people can focus on the rebuild and not worry about their lot and getting it cleaned up,” said Andrew Barth, a spokesman for Boulder County’s public works department. “Everyone on the debris removal side is definitely breathing a lot easier now.”

The debris program, which was estimated to cost $52.6 million, was launched in April after disputes over the contract that was awarded to DRC Emergency Services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to cover 95% of the costs with the state, Boulder County, Louisville and Superior chipping in the rest of the money.

Of the 1,084 homes lost in the Dec. 30 wildfire, 566 homeowners registered with the county to participate in the program. The others chose to use private debris removal contractors.

The county disposed of the debris at five different facilities, including landfills in Erie and Golden, Barth said.

Here’s a breakdown of what was cleared from the land, according to a Boulder County news release:

  • 103,662 tons of ash and debris hauled to landfills
  • 64,648 tons of brick and concrete recycled
  • 2,403 tons of metal recycled
  • 1,837 tons of branches, limbs and other vegetative debris recycled

The Marshall fire, which burned through parts of unincorporated Boulder County, Louisville and Superior, killed Nadine Turnbull and Robert Sharpe and destroyed 1,084 homes with a value upwards of $500 million. It was the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities say it was fueled by dry vegetation and powerful winds.

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