Jan. 7 (UPI) — The Marshall Fire has destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Colorado, causing millions of dollars in damage, officials said Thursday.
Updated totals from Boulder County on Thursday showed that 1,084 homes had been destroyed and another 149 have been damaged for an estimated $513 million in damages.
Additionally, seven commercial structures were destroyed and 30 others damaged, but the county had not fully calculated estimates of their worth.
On Wednesday, authorities discovered human remains in Boulder County, marking the first confirmed death associated with the fire.
The remains are believed to belong to one of two people reported missing in the fire.
Last week, a man from Lousiville who had been reported missing was found alive, saying he was not aware he had been reported missing.
One other person remains missing.
The blaze burned 6,000 acres since it began on Dec. 30 and firefighters have since 100% contained the perimeter.
Boulder County Public Health officials on Wednesday warned residents returning to their homes not to sift through ash and debris from the fire as it may contain toxic substances.
“BCPH strongly recommends that residents do not attempt to remove debris or clean up properties that have been damaged or destroyed and under no circumstances should residents disturb ash regardless of what personal protective equipment they may have,” the department said.
Ash contains small amounts of cancer-causing chemicals and older buildings may contain asbestos and lead. Ultra-fine particles can go deep into lungs, entering the bloodstream and damaging internal organs even through PPE such as N95 masks, the agency added.