Severe fires have destroyed hundreds of homes, injured dozens and forced tens of thousands to evacuate two towns east of the Rocky Mountains near Denver, Colorado.
Disasters follow each other. Hundreds of homes were destroyed in Colorado on Thursday, December 30, officials said, as the western United States was hit by strong winds and faced a historic drought.
“About 370 homes were destroyed in the Sagamore sub-district. It is likely that 210 homes were destroyed in Old Town Superior,” Boulder County Sheriff Joe Bailey said at a conference.
Boulder, with a population of over 100,000, is located about fifty kilometers from Denver, the capital of Colorado.
This state suffers from a historical drought that contributed greatly to the spread of flames. In Boulder County, smoke has faded from hotels, malls, and more than 650 acres of green space.
Gusts of over 160 km/h have been observed in some places complicating the efforts of the firefighters.
Sheriff Joe Bailey warned, “I would like to stress the size and intensity of this fire and its presence in such a densely populated area, and we would not be surprised if there are any injuries or deaths.”
According to the Colorado Sun, several people required treatment for burns, and at least six were hospitalized.
Pictures broadcast by CBS showed a burning apartment building that firefighters were trying to put out.
Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate, especially in the city of Louisville of 20,000.
The meteorological services insisted, “Leave Louisville or your life will be in danger.”
“Strong winds spread the flames quickly and ground all aircraft,” Jared Polis, governor of the mountainous state, where the Rockies meet the Great Plains, wrote on Twitter.
“From comfort to nothing”
Another city targeted by a full evacuation order, Superior, which has a population of 13,000, was blanketed Thursday in a cloud of black smoke, according to photos posted on social media.
The local Denver Post reported that Patrick Kilbride was on his job at a hardware store when he was ordered to evict.
The 72-year-old rushed home to the Chairman to take his belongings, but was unable to save anything other than his car and the clothes he was carrying on his back. Her dog and cat died in the fires.
“All that remains are ashes,” he said of the house he lived in for three decades.
“It’s a strange feeling to move from a situation where you have all the amenities you can get and have absolutely none,” he told The Denver Post.
Patti Holtz described the horror she felt when evacuating her home in Boulder County. “Everything is on fire. The embers are everywhere. Of course I’m afraid, with the wind, that it will continue to spread to other homes,” she said.
fires in december
“It was so dark you couldn’t see anything,” she said again. “It’s like the darkness of the night.”
Like much of the American West, already arid Colorado has experienced exceptional drought for several years.
With global warming, the intensity and frequency of droughts and heat waves are likely to increase, continuing to create ideal conditions for wildfires or bushfires. The American West has experienced unprecedented fires in recent years, especially in California and Oregon.
For Daniel Swain, a meteorologist at the University of California, “it’s hard to believe” that these fires happen in December, a period not usually conducive to this type of event in the region.
“But take a fall of record heat and drought, only two inches of snow so far this season, and add a storm with very steep gusting winds…The result is very dangerous, very fast-moving fires,” the researcher wrote in a tweet.
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