DEL NORTE — Rio Grande County Commissioners signed a declaration of disaster to support and bring additional resources to the City of Monte Vista and those affected by the 17-acre fire that ravaged the small community on Wednesday, April 20.
Rio Grande County and the City of Monte Vista have been working together for the last several days to ensure that resources were made immediately available to people affected and displaced from their homes by the fire. The disaster declaration will bring additional support from both state and federal agencies.
“We want to ensure that the proper resources are available to the City of Monte Vista and those affected by the fire,” said Rio Grande County Commissioner Chairman Gene Glover. “The effect of this declaration of disaster shall be to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing aid and assistance under such plans.”
As of Friday morning, the fire located northwest of Monte Vista was determined completely contained by the incidence response team led by Monte Vista Police Department Police Chief George Dingfelder in cooperation with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
In statements released Thursday by Dingfelder and the City of Monte Vista, families were able to return to their homes, and people that lost everything are being helped by local agencies, including the Rio Grande County Department of Social Services.
In a Thursday press release, Dingfelder stated that an initial assessment was made of the burn area by Rio Grande County Assessor’s Office and that a final report will be completed in the coming weeks. There is only speculation as to the number of structures lost but it has been confirmed that six families lost their homes to the blaze.
As the investigation into the cause of the fire continues, authorities continue to relay that there is no indication of intentional ignition at this time.
The San Luis Valley is under red flag warnings throughout the weekend and local fire department and emergency managers throughout the region are urging residents and guests to use extreme caution in the coming days.