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The fire in Colorado destroyed hundreds of homes and evacuated thousands

The fire in Colorado destroyed hundreds of homes and evacuated thousands

(CNN) – Hundreds of homes have been lost in Colorado since two wildfires started and grew rapidly Thursday, causing more winds to blow across the area, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes, the Boulder County Sheriff said.

About 35,000 people in Colorado have been evacuated from Superior, southwestern Boulder County and Louisville due to the martial fire, Michelle Kelly of the Boulder Incident Management Committee told CNN subsidiary KUSA this morning.

“They are two whole communities directly affected by this fire, and it will take some time for them to heal,” Kelly said.

The fire, triggered by hurricane winds, burned about 2,500 acres in Boulder County on Thursday in just a few hours.

Authorities said Thursday that “historic” winds of 123-160 km / h were reported in the area.

A UCHealth spokesman told CNN that at least six people were being treated for injuries related to a fire. Kelly Christensen said no further information was available about patients at UCHealth Broomfield Hospital.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Belle said there was no information that Marshall died in the fire, only one person was missing.

There are about 2,000 homes in the burned area and authorities “fully expect 500 or more to be lost,” Belle said.

Damage assessments are currently underway and final numbers are not expected today or tomorrow, the sheriff said.

The cities of Louisville and Superior are about four miles from Boulder.

“If you’re in the area, act quickly,” the Boulder County Emergency Management Office tweeted to Louisville residents.

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The U.S. Census Bureau says there are about 21,000 residents in Louisville and 13,000 in Superior.

“Bolder OEM has been getting a lot of calls about residents who have seen the fire. If you see a fire, evacuate. Go east, go north, but leave immediately. More information through OEM channels,” it said. A tweet From the Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

The National Weather Service called the situation in the Superior and Louisville areas “life-threatening.”

On December 30, 2021, two houses in the Sentinel Heights area of ​​Louisville, Colorado were destroyed by a wildfire. (Credit: Mark Biscotti / Getty Images)

“Fast-paced life-threatening situation in the Superior and Louisville areas! The fire is spreading fast in the area. We look forward to gathering more information and leaving immediately, ”the company said on its NWS Boulder Twitter account.

The fire, known as the Middle Fork Fire, is north of Boulder City, while the other fire, Marshall Fire, is south of the city, according to Boulder OEM.

Evacuation points #MiddleForkFire and #MarshallFire are located at South Boulder Wreck Center (1360 Killaspy Doctor, Boulder) and Longmond Senior Center (910 Longspeak Ave, Longmond), the OEM tweet states.

According to the OEM, people are being asked to avoid sections 93 and CR 170, which have road closures.

Authorities said the fire caused houses to explode

CNN’s Amara Walker interviewed senior mayor Clint Folsom and Louisville mayor Ashley Stolsman on Thursday about the wildfires that have spread in their communities.

“It’s a complete disaster,” Folsom told CNN. “Last night with the city manager and the sheriff’s sergeant I was able to look around the area and see the incredible devastation around the city, and then we saw houses explode before our very eyes.

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People had a few minutes to leave due to unprecedented winds, he said.

“This tragedy touches absolutely everyone in our community,” Stolsman told Walker.

Although the official cause of the wildfires has not yet been determined, Stolzmann said one of the first assumptions was that the power lines had collapsed.

“Really Historic Wind Storm”

“We’re in the middle of a real historic hurricane up front, across the mountains and across the urban corridor,” said the National Weather Service in Boulder, Colorado.

A West Metro firefighter observes the damage caused by a fast-moving wildfire on December 30, 2021 in the Centennial Heights area of ​​Louisville, Colorado. (Credit: Mark Biscotti / Getty Images)

“Extraordinary amplification of mountain waves”, which occurs in the most atmospheric conditions, refers to a significant increase in wind speed as the wind blows over the Boulder and surrounding lower elevations. .

Widespread winds of 123-160 km / h were reported, the NWS said, adding that “a few sites in Rocky Platts were experiencing winds of 160-185 km / h for several hours.”

Combined with humidity of less than 20%, intense winds cause fires to spread rapidly even in the cities of Superior and Louisville.

Now the peak wind is blowing and the high-resolution modeling “shows a rapid reversal of strong winds at the base over the next 2 hours,” NWS says. When dusk falls the wind should still subside.