Hundreds of homes were destroyed by forest fires and two cities are ordered to evacuate

Hundreds of homes were devastated by aggressive forest fires in Colorado, western United States, while progress was made on Friday in an evacuation plan due to the resurgence of the flames.

It is estimated that around 580 homes, a hotel and a shopping center they were turned to ashes, and tens of thousands of people were evacuated because of wildfires outside of Denver.

At least a lifeguard and six other people They were injured, although Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle did not rule out that there were more serious injuries or deaths due to the intensity of the fires, which spread rapidly through the region amid winds of up to 169 kilometers per hour. .

“We know that approximately 370 homes in the Sagamore subdivision were lost. There are another 210 homes that may have been lost in Old Town Superior,” Sheriff Pelle reported.

The first outbreak of fire started shortly before 10:30 on Thursday and was “fought fairly quickly and put out later in the day, and is currently being monitored” with no structures being lost, Pelle said.

However, a second forest fire, reported shortly after 11 a.m., “grew rapidly and spread rapidly eastward,” the police chief said. cover 6.5 square kilometers and they have forced residents to hurry to safety.

The activity of the fires, which erupted unusually late in the winter season, will depend on how the winds behave at night, and this could determine when teams can enter to assess the damage and search for possible victims.

“This is the type of fire that we cannot fight head-on, ” Pelle said in statements to the press.” In fact, we had assistant police chiefs and firefighters in areas where they had to withdraw simply because they were surpassed” he added.

The cities of Louisville, which has a population of 21,000, and Superior, with 13,000 inhabitants, received orders to evacuate. Both neighboring towns are about 20 miles northwest of Denver.

The blaze is one of several that started Thursday in the area, some of which were caused by downed power lines.

Six people who were injured were taken to UCHealth Broomfield Hospital, spokeswoman Kelli Christensen said. A nearby portion of Federal Highway 36 was closed because of the tragedy.

Images from CBS television show what appears to be a burning apartment complex as firefighters try to put out the fire.

A video on Twitter shows smoke and fire reaching a department store parking lot and setting trees and grass on fire.

Patrick Kilbride, 72, was working in a hardware store when he learned of the evacuation order, according to the Denver Post.

She ran home to collect her things but couldn’t save anything other than her car and the clothes she was wearing. His dog and cat died. “Just ashes,” he said of the home in which he lived for three decades.

“It is no longer a house. If you need a fireplace, it is all that remains,” he told the newspaper. “What a strange feeling to go from having everything to make your life comfortable to having nothing,” he added.

The National Meteorological Service affirmed that it is a situation “that is putting lives in danger.”

Patti Holtz described the terror of leaving her home in Boulder County. “Everything was on fire,” he said.

“There are embers everywhere. So I’m very scared, of course, with the wind, that it’s going to continue to spread to other houses. (…) It was so dark, of course, that you can’t see anything. It’s like the black of the night, “he described.

The fire is devastating, according to Colorado Governor Jared Polis. Photo: AP

Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency and said it was a fire “devastating”.

Like previous fires in the state, he said, this one is advancing in residential areas and not in the countryside. “This area (on fire) is around and inside suburban settlements, shops,” he said.

The effects of climate change

Like much of the western United States, Colorado traversed years of a drought which has left the area parched and vulnerable to forest fires.

Although fires are a natural part of the climate cycle, helping to clear vegetation, their scale and intensity is increasing.

Scientists warn that climate change, largely driven by human activities such as the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels, is altering weather patterns.

This prolongs droughts in several areas and causes unusual out-of-season storms in other regions, a phenomenon expected to worsen as temperatures around the world continue to rise.

Daniel Swain, a meteorologist at the University of California, tweeted that it was “hard to believe” these fires were occurring in December, when these types of flames are rarely recorded.

“But if we take a warm and dry autumn, with only 2.5 cm of snow so far this season, and add an extreme windstorm (over 160 km / h) … the result is extremely fast fires and dangerous, “he said.

With information from agencies

By Editor

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