Apocalyptic Wildfires Rage In Colorado, 30,000 Evacuated, Homes Burned To The Ground
Photo: (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
On Thursday, a wind-driven wildfire forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate near Denver as hurricane-force winds devoured homes and businesses.
The wildfire began at 1030 local time Thursday and swept through suburban areas in Boulder County. At least 30,000 people were evacuated as fast-moving wildfires burned nearly 600 homes, a shopping mall, and a hotel. By night, the fire had burned 1,600 acres.
This wildfire was the most destructive in state history in terms of destruction. The last fire to burn 500 homes was in 2013 and called the "Black Forest Fire."
The good news overnight is that the National Weather Service Boulder Office said winds calmed, and the fire is expected to simmer down.
A second fire was reported around 1100 local time, "ballooned and spread rapidly east," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said. The blaze engulfed roughly 2.5 square miles of land, but no building structures were lost.
Both wildfires occurred late into the winter season and were fueled by hurricane-force winds, upwards of 110 mph in some recordings.
"This is the kind of fire we can't fight head-on," Pelle said. "We actually had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in areas that had to pull out because they just got overrun."
The fires prompted Gov. Jared Polis to declare a state of emergency, allowing the state to tap into disaster funds. Much of the evacuations were across Superior and Louisville and for some residents of Broomfield and Westminster. All the areas are near Denver.
Broomfield Police tweeted absolutely shocking videos of the fire consuming homes.
More videos of the fire have surfaced on social media.
The historic drought has made wildfires harder for firefighters to combat. Much of Boulder County hasn't seen rain since mid-summer.