Study To Determine Why Some Homes Burn, Others Still Standing In Marshall Fire

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A major study is underway into the Marshall Fire to help prepare for future disasters. One part of the research is into how some homes are still standing while others around them are gone.

(credit: CBS)

It is a great mystery about this devastating fire. Why did some houses burn to the ground while others did not? One home that suffered some damage, but was not burned, belongs to CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.

“I felt guilty, why was our house still there? you are happy, relieved, but also sad, heartbroken and I cried,” she said.

Pictures show where the fire approached but did not ignite the house.

Mike Vorce is on the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center team seeking answers to the broader questions.

He told CBS4, “Something that might affect why this area is more susceptible to a fire or why a certain structure burned versus one that didn’t burn.”

A small camera takes on a big task. Mounted on top of a car it is traveling through all of the neighborhoods where the fire burned. It takes 360-degree pictures which are then paired with google street view images from before the fire.

“It’s important to document that so that we can go back and study and understand how much of that is related to environmental conditions, how much of it is related to construction techniques.”

Using GPS and maps the information will be used for training FEMA and other agencies on how to better prepare to handle evacuations and reduce loss of lives and property so those not as fortunate as Shaun Boyd.

“We at least have a house to return to, we’re lucky,” Boyd said.

The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center is based at the University of Hawaii. It is working with the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center. No date has been set for the study to be completed.