The Four Mile Canyon fire outside Boulder has left a residue of anger, confusion and loss
By Steven Titus/photograph by Thia Martin
The 6,250-acre Four Mile Canyon fire was deemed "contained" on Sept. 13, 2010, a week after it started a few miles west of downtown Boulder. But for those whose homes it touched, the impact of this relatively small forest fire will be felt for decades.
Some 169 structures were destroyed and hundreds more damaged. Since then Boulder County has issued only 30 building permits, and some residents of the area predict only half the homes will be rebuilt. Depending on whom you speak to, blame for the slow pace of rebuilding is spread between county officials, the state of Colorado, the economy and insurance companies.
Conversations with residents about this subject can quickly spiral into anger and frustration. Some still can't talk about it. Others talk as a kind of therapy. To understand how bad the situation was - and is - and how ravaged people living in the canyons feel, it helps to go back to the day residents were allowed to go home.
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