Disasters & Accidents

Over 500 homes razed, tens of thousands evacuated in Colorado wildfire

(Update 1: Adds detail)

Washington, Dec 31 (EFE).- A wildfire has destroyed over 500 houses and forced the evacuation of 30,000 people in Boulder County, Colorado, authorities said Friday.

The towns of Superior, population 12,000, and Louisville, home to 20,000, had to be evacuated as the flames encroached.

The fire started late Thursday morning and, in a matter of hours, destroyed buildings and huge tracts of land due to strong gusts of wind, which the National Weather Service in Boulder reported ranged between 80 and 100 miles per hour (128-160 kph).

“We are literally watching it (the town) burn,” Clint Folsom, the mayor of Superior, told the Denver Post.

Another 15,000 homes have been left without electricity due to the wildfires.

Joe Pelle, sheriff of Boulder County, said earlier that it was too soon to know if there were any casualties in the “horrific event.”

“I’d like to emphasize that due to the magnitude of this fire, the intensity of this fire and its presence in such a heavily populated area, we would not be surprised if there are injuries and fatalities,” he said at a press conference Thursday.

The fire was believed to have been started by toppled power lines, although Pelle said the investigation could take days.

The sheriff reported that in two areas of Superior alone, 580 houses were razed. A shopping center and hotel were also burned.

Property losses in Louisville, where a hospital had to be evacuated, and other areas of the county have not yet been evaluated.

According to estimates by authorities, the fires have swept through about 1,600 acres (about 647 hectares).

The evacuation order also included some areas of Broomfield, a county neighboring Boulder.

Given the seriousness of the situation, Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in order to mobilize funds for disaster relief and provide state support through the deployment of National Guard troops, and others.

On social media, photos and videos circulated of people exiting a store and finding a parking lot shrouded in smoke, whipped by the wind.

They also showed people driving through thick smoke and areas where the flames are still active. EFE


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