Colorado wildfires burn hundreds of homes and force evacuation

Denver (AP) — An estimated 580 homes, hotels and shopping centers have been burned down and tens of thousands have been evacuated by a wildfire in the suburbs of Denver, officials said Thursday night.

At least one first responder and six others were injured, but Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pele said a rapid fire struck the entire region when the wind reached 105 mph (169 km). He acknowledged that the stubbornness could result in more injuries and deaths. ).

According to Pele, the first fire broke out shortly before 10:30 am and was “attacked very quickly, extinguished later in the day and is currently being monitored.”

The second wildfire, reported shortly after 11:00 am, “surged and spread rapidly to the east,” Pele said. The flames stretched 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers), swallowing parts of the area into a smoky orange sky and sending scrambling to take the inhabitants to a safe place.

The activity of the unusually burning fire in the second half of the winter season depends on how the wind behaves overnight, when the crew can come in to assess the damage and start looking for victims. Can be determined.

“This is the kind of fire we can’t fight head-on,” Pele said. “In fact, there were deputy sheriffs and firefighters in the area where we had to withdraw because of an overrun,” he added.

Evacuation was ordered to the city of Louisville, which is home to about 21,000 people, and to the city of Superior, which is home to an additional 13,000 people.

The neighboring town is about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Denver and is filled with middle-class and middle-class plots surrounded by shopping centers, parks and schools. The area lies between Denver and Boulder, the town of Foothill College, home of the University of Colorado.

Residents evacuated fairly calmly and orderly, but the winding streets of the suburbs clogged as soon as people tried to get out. It could take as long as 45 minutes for a car to travel about 0.5 miles (less than a kilometer).

The gusts scattered and spread the fire, causing a small fire in an amazing place (median lawn and dumplings in the middle of the parking lot). Due to the change in wind, the sky changed from sunny to smoke and returned again when an emergency siren rang nearby.

Some of the few flames that broke out in the area on Thursday were caused by power line outages.

Six people injured in the fire were being treated at UC HealthBroomfield Hospital, spokesperson Kelli Christensen said. The area near US Highway 36 has also been closed.

Colorado’s front range, home to most of the state’s population, has a very dry and mild fall, and so far winters have remained largely dry. Denver set a record for most consecutive days without snow It was expected to snow in the area on Friday before the light storm on December 10, but it hasn’t snowed since then.

Superior Costco One of the videos taken by bystanders outside Costco is an apocalypse in which the wind blows through the barren trees in a parking lot surrounded by a gray sky, and the hazy sun and small fires are scattered on the ground. Shows a typical scene.

Leah Angstman and her husband saw a similar dark sky when they returned to Louisville’s home from Denver International Airport after leaving for a vacation. As they sat on the bus to Boulder, Angstmann soon remembered leaving the clear blue sky and entering a cloud of brown and yellow smoke.

“I thought the bus would tilt because the wind shook the bus so hard,” she wrote in the Associated Press.

The visibility was so poor that the bus had to stop and waited 30 minutes for the local transportation van to guide us to turn the freeway. There she said she saw four separate fires burning in the bushes across the freeway.

“The sky was dark and dark brown, and the soil swirled around the sidewalk like a snake,” she said.

Angstman later evacuated, got into a car with her husband, and decided to drive northeast without knowing where to go.

Vignesh Kasinath, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder, evacuated the Superior neighborhood with his wife and parents. Mr. Cassinus said the family was overwhelmed by sudden evacuation warnings and anxiety from the turmoil while leaving.

“I’ve come to know this because I’m on Twitter,” said Casinas, who said he hadn’t received an official evacuation notice from the authorities.

The fire declared an emergency for Governor Jared Polis and gave the state access to disaster emergency funds.

Evacuation comes when climate change is happening More extreme weather Wildfires are more frequent and destructive, according to scientists. A Historical drought Heat waves make it difficult to fight wildfires in the western United States.

90% of Boulder County has been hit by severe or extreme droughts, with no significant rainfall since midsummer.

“If it had snowed on the ground, this would never have happened that way,” said Keith Massellman, a snow hydrologist who was at home when the fire broke out not far away. ..

According to Massellman, the risk of this serious fire is expected in September and October following the dry summer, but it is very rare that there will be no rainfall such as snow or rain later in the season. That is.

The National Weather Service predicts that up to a foot of snow could fall in Boulder tomorrow, and that humidity will provide significant relief, Masselman said.


The Associated Press writer Colleen Slevin contributed to this report. Nieberg is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.