(More) Hundreds of homes were destroyed in a fire on Thursday in Colorado, a state in the western United States, which has been hit by high winds and is facing a historic drought, officials said.
“About 370 houses were destroyed in the Sagamore subdivision. 210 homes may have been destroyed in the Old Town Superior, ”Boulder County Sheriff Joe Belle told a news conference.
The city of Boulder, with a population of over 100,000, is located about fifty miles[50 km]from Denver, the capital of Colorado.
The state is experiencing a historic drought that has greatly contributed to the spread of the fires. In Boulder County, hotels, shopping centers and more than 650 acres have been transformed into a green smoke zone.
Winds of up to 160km / h were reported in some places, complicating the efforts of firefighters.
“I would like to emphasize its size and intensity and its presence in the densely populated area. We will not be surprised if there are injuries or deaths,” the sheriff warned. Joe Belle.
According to the newspaper Colorado Sun., Many of the burns had to be treated, at least six of whom were hospitalized.
Pictures aired on CBS showed the burning apartment building as firefighters tried to extinguish it.
Thousands of residents have been ordered to evacuate, especially in Louisville, where 20,000 residents live.
“Leave Louisville, otherwise your life will be in danger,” the Met Office said.
“Strong winds quickly spread the flames and all planes landed,” tweeted Jared Police, the governor of this mountainous state where the Rockies meet large plains.
“Only ash left”
Another city, Superior, with 13,000 citizens, was covered in dark smoke on Thursday, according to images posted on social media.
Patrick Gilbright, 72, was working at a hardware store when he was ordered fired, according to a local newspaper. Denver Post.
The 72-year-old rushed to his home in Superior to collect his belongings but could not save anything other than his car and the clothes he was carrying on his back. Her cat and dog died in the blaze.
He told me about the house where he lived for three decades.
“It’s a different feeling to be completely without anything in a situation where you have all the amenities,” he told The Denver Post.
Grandma Holts described the horror of evacuating her Boulder County home. “Everything is on fire. Matchstones everywhere. I’m so scared, of course, with the wind, it will continue to spread to other homes,” he said.
“Like the darkness of night”
“It was too dark to see anything. It’s like the darkness of night, ”she repeated.
Colorado, an already arid state like the western United States, has been battling exceptional drought for years.
With global warming, the intensity and frequency of drought and heat waves are likely to increase further, creating better conditions for forest or shrub fires. In recent years, the U.S. West has experienced unprecedented fires, especially in California and Oregon.
For Daniel Swain, a meteorologist at UCLA University, it is “hard to believe” that these fires will happen in December, which is not usually the case in the region.
“However, only two centimeters of snow has been reported so far this season.