Holy fire California: Resident watches as blaze surrounds house
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Local authorities have asked more than 32,000 people to evacuate as what is already known as the Marshall fire has massacred land and houses since Thursday morning (11am local time). Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a news conference that an estimated 580 homes have currently been lost to the flames or damaged.
He added that one officer was injured.
Breaking down the numbers, Sheriff Pelle said 370 homes were lost in east Superior, and an additional 210 may have been destroyed in the Olde Town area.
Sheriff Pelle said no fatalities have yet been reported, but given the speed and scope of the fire, “it wouldn’t surprise us if we did find a casualty.”
He added: “My county is on fire.”
The intense Colorado winds boosted the fire to the extent that by 3pm, the smoke turned daylight into dusk.
A spokesperson for UC Health in Broomfield confirmed six burn victim patients.
Governor Jared Polis told reporters: “This is awful.”
“There is no way to quantify the price of a loss.”
Winds of up to 110 mph helped the fire reach several buildings, including an apartment complex under construction that was fully engulfed, according to a report by CBS Denver.
The fire has also cut power to thousands of people in the area.
Some reported that they could not evacuate because they could not get their vehicles out of their electrically closed garage.
Around 1,600 acres (5 square kilometres) have been burned in less than a day.
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According to reporter Alan Gionet at the scene, the fire keeps growing by the minute due to the raging winds.
Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said all structures in the towns of Superior and Louisville, totalling about 13,000 homes, were being evacuated.
A firefighting source told Mr Gionet: “This is Waldo Canyon fire on steroids.”
Sheriff Pelle also told the reporter: “The end won’t come until the wind subsides.”
Weather reporter Mike Nelson on Denver Channel stated the peak wind gusts observed today in Rocky Flats, with 115 mph, were classified as category two tornadoes.
He said: “What we’ve developed now is a firestorm.
“Looking at this, I’m thinking of pictures from World War Two bombings.
“This fire has gotten so big that it is now creating its own weather. That’s part of the reason why we do not see these winds die down.
“In a timelapse, we can see that the smoke is rolling off the foothills like waves crashing on a beach.”
Governor Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency while officials have labelled the event a “life-threatening emergency.”
The state can now access disaster emergency funds to support the emergency response efforts in Boulder and provide state resources, including the use of the Colorado National Guard, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and activation of the State Emergency Operations Center.
The fire also burned the Target supermarket in Superior and the Element Hotel.
The Sheriff added: “This is the kind of fire you can’t fight off.”
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