Hundreds of Homes turned into Ashes, Thousands Evacuated: Colorado Wildfire
Hundreds of homes were destroyed and tens of thousands of people were evacuated as a fast-moving wildfire swept through Boulder and Denver on Thursday.
After being started just after 11 a.m. local time, the Mitchell Fire quickly grew to 1,600 acres. At least 370 houses were destroyed in Louisville’s Sagamore community and another 210 in the historic town of Superior, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
The Element hotel in Superior, as well as a Target retail centre, was also destroyed.
The entire population of Louisville (population 21,000) and Superior (population 13,000) were both evacuated. Patients at Louisville’s Avista Adventist Hospital were also transferred to other facilities. Later in the afternoon, the evacuation zone was extended to include Broomfield.
Only one police officer has been injured so far, but Pelle said that might change in the coming days.
“I’d like to emphasise 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 or fatalities,” Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said in a press conference on Thursday.
The Mitchell Fire was being fanned by wind gusts of up to 90 mph and extremely dry conditions. Power lines were destroyed by the high winds, and investigators believe that’s what ignited the blaze.
Until the wind dropped down, the firefighters claimed, they didn’t think they could even start putting out the fire. Pelle added that cops and firemen were forced to flee the blaze because it had engulfed them.
As Colorado Gov. Jim Polis put it, “This is the kind of fire you can’t fight off,”. “Not enough resources are available to put out this fire… This blaze is truly a natural phenomenon.”
The National Guard was called in to assist in the fight against the blaze, and the city proclaimed a state of emergency.
Marshall Fire is on track to become the most damaging wildfire in Colorado history.