Wind-driven fires in Colorado have destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of people to flee their homes. As gusts gusted up to 170 km/h, fires spread across the region, injuring at least seven persons.
Wind-driven flames near Denver have destroyed an estimated 580 homes, a hotel, and a shopping complex, and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated, officials said Thursday evening.
At least one first responder and six people were hurt, while Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said more accidents and fatalities could occur owing to the severity of the fires, which swept through the region in a matter of minutes with winds gusting up to 170 km/h.
About half-hour later, a second wildfire “ballooned and expanded fast east,” according to Pelle. The 6.5-square-kilometer fire has consumed parts of the area in the hazy, orange sky, sending locals fleeing for their lives.
The fires activity, which is blazing exceptionally late in the winter season, will be determined by how the winds behave overnight, which could affect when crews are allowed to go in and survey the damage and look for any victims.
“This is a fire we can’t battle head-on,” Pelle explained. “We really had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in locations that had to pull out due to overcrowding,” he continued. The Front Range of Colorado, with the majority of the state’s population, had an exceptionally dry and warm fall, and the winter has been generally dry so far. However, snow was forecast for the region on Friday.
Winds blasting through barren trees in the parking lot, accompanied by grey skies, a hazy sun, and small fires spread across the ground, according to a video shot by a bystander outside a Superior Costco shop.
Source: CBC News