Gov. Jared Police have declared a state of emergency as the National Weather Service warns of ‘life-threatening conditions’ in affected areas of the United States.
In Colorado, USA, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people evacuated by wildfires caused by high winds in two cities near the state capital Denver.
At least six people and a first responder were injured Thursday, although authorities believe the death toll could have been higher due to the strength of the fire, which spread rapidly across Boulder County. The National Weather Service has warned of strong winds of up to 169 kilometers per hour (105 mph) in some parts of the country.
Authorities ordered the evacuation of Louisville, a city of about 21,000 residents and a suburb of Superior and Boulder, home to 13,000 residents. Nearly 32 km (20 miles) northwest of Denver, a city of more than 715,000 people, a high haze was observed.
“We know that approximately 370 houses have been lost in the Sagamore subdivision. There is a possibility of losing 210 homes in the Old Town Superior, ”Boulder County Sheriff Joe Belle told a news conference Thursday.
“Due to the size and severity of the fire and its presence in the densely populated area, we would not be surprised if there are any injuries or deaths,” he said.
Residents evacuated very quietly and orderly, but the winding streets in the suburban suburbs quickly closed as people tried to evacuate. Sometimes cars take up to 45 minutes to advance a few hundred meters.
The first fire broke out just before 10:30 a.m. local time (Friday GMT 17:30) and was “struck very quickly and was laid to rest later in the day and is currently being monitored,” Belle said.
After 11 a.m. local time (Friday 18:00 GMT), a second wildfire “ballooned and spread rapidly eastward,” Belle added. The fire spread over an area of 6.5 square kilometers (2.5 square miles) and smoke and orange skies surrounded parts of the area and drove residents to safety.
The activity of an unusually burning fire in late winter depends on how the wind is operating overnight and the team can go inside and assess the damage and search for victims.
“It’s kind of a fire, we can’t fight it face to face,” Belle said. “Because we really had deputy sheriffs and firefighters, they were in areas where they had to leave,” he added.
According to the Denver Post newspaper, the fire is the most devastating in the history of Colorado in terms of the number of homes destroyed.
Governor Jared declared police a state of emergency, allowing disaster funding to support emergency response efforts and mobilizing the Colorado National Guard and other state resources as needed.
The area near the U.S. Highway is also said to have been closed due to the fire.
Very strong air becomes fuel # Marshall fire. There is no good sign when the radar shows strong smoke of this magnitude.
– NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) December 30, 2021
The fire, which broke out on the outskirts of the Denver metropolitan area, dried up the bone in a severe drought in eastern Colorado, following several days of heavy snowfall in the western Rocky Mountains.
Congressman Joe Negus, who represents Colorado’s 2nd district, called the wildfire “unprecedented.”
“]Wildfire]has created unprecedented catastrophe and devastation for our state,” he told CNN.
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Thursday approved funding for Colorado fire brigades.
“Accreditation provides FEMA funding to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs,” the agency said in a statement.