One found, two people still missing after Colorado wildfire

US officials initially said there were no reports of fatalities following the rare urban wildfire that erupted on Thursday



People whose homes didn’t burn in a wildfire evacuate their belongings in Superior, Colorado. — AP
People whose homes didn’t burn in a wildfire evacuate their belongings in Superior, Colorado. — AP

By Agencies

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 12:25 AM

Two people were still missing after a wind-stoked wildfire roared through two towns in Boulder County, Colorado, prompting thousands of evacuations and destroying nearly 1,000 homes, authorities said on Sunday.

Out of three people who were missing as of Saturday, one person had been accounted for, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a press briefing on Sunday.

Officials initially said there were no reports of fatalities following the rare urban wildfire that erupted on Thursday on the northern outskirts of the Denver metropolitan area.

The flames ripped through at least 24 square kilometres and left nearly 1,000 homes and other buildings destroyed in suburbs between Denver and Boulder. It came unusually late in the year following an extremely dry fall and amid a winter nearly devoid of snow. Experts say those conditions, along with high winds, helped the fire spread.

In hard-hit Louisville, Susan Hill walked her dog in the well-below freezing chill on Sunday morning down a snowy street. She choked up as she remembered three days ago seeing the sky change colour from the hill where she used to watch fireworks — and then the nervous sprint out of town with her college-age son and the dog, cat and the fire box with birth certificates and other documents.

ALSO READ:

The flames stopped about 90 metres from her property, and she slept on Saturday night in her home using a space heater and hot water bottles to stay warm since her natural gas service had not been turned back on.

“I don’t even know how to describe it,” she said. “It’s so sad. It’s so awful. It’s just devastating.”

In the burned-out neighbourhood near Hill’s home, a US Mail carrier checked the still-standing brick and stone boxes for outgoing mail. The fire came so quickly people might have put bills or other letters in there, and she didn’t want someone to steal them.

While homes that burned to the foundations were still smouldering in some places, the blaze was no longer considered an immediate threat — especially with Saturday’s snow and frigid temperatures.

“A day late and a dollar short,” Hill said of snow, which scientists said typically prevents winter fires that spread in dry grass.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Utility officials found no downed power lines around where the fire broke out.


More news from World