Colorado wildfires scorches nearly 1,000 homes, displaces more than 35,000 residents
Colorado is facing the prospect of the most destructive fires in state history in terms of property damage, according to reports.
Wildfires, accompanied by 100 MPH winds, tore through the Boulder County cities of Louisville and Superior, situated north of Denver on Thursday, Breitbart News reported. The Marshall and Middle Fork fires are believed to have destroyed hundreds, if not a thousand homes.
“I would estimate it’s going to be at least 500. I would not be surprised if it’s 1,000,” said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle during a press conference Friday morning per the Denver Post.
Pelle previously estimated 370 homes were destroyed in Superior, while another 210 may have been lost in Old Town Superior, Breitbart News reported. The fire tore through 1,600 acres and it remains to be seen how many dwellings were scorched in “Louisville and unincorporated areas of Boulder County,” according to the Colorado Sun.
1,778 homes were situated in the burn area with an estimated collective value of $825 million, the Denver Post reported. Not all of the homes were burned, but it may take another day or so before the exact number of homes lost becomes clear.
“This was consuming football-field lengths of land in seconds,” Pelle said at a Thursday news conference, per the Colorado Sun. “We had never seen anything like it. This was a horrific event.”
KDVR also reported the blaze may be the most destructive in terms of homes lost in state history. As of Friday morning, no fatalities were reported, and no one was reported missing, according to Fox 6, but Pelle says there may be casualties when the dust has settled. “But given the ferocity and scope of this fire, it would not surprise me if we find casualties,” he said.
Evacuation and pre-evacuations for areas outside of Boulder County were lifted overnight, the Denver Post reported. Superior’s evacuation order was still in place as of 6:47 a.m. local time Friday.
At 7:29 a.m. local time, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management reiterated that no residents should reenter evacuation zones. Gov. Jared Polis (D) declared a state of emergency on Thursday and flew over the affected areas to assess the damage on Friday.