Colorado officials were searching Saturday for two people who were reported missing from a winter wildfire in the suburbs of Denver that destroyed hundreds of homes and saved thousands. Trying what they could do with the fast-moving fire.
Officials had previously said no one was missing in the area affected by Thursday’s fire, but Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said Saturday they were now trying to find two people, who were later assigned sheriff’s duties, After firefighters and hundreds of other officers located were told unaccounted for. People who were initially reported missing. He declined to provide details about where they were last seen, or the efforts made to locate them, and attributed the error to underlying confusion when agencies called for an emergency. was scrambling to manage.
The news came as overnight dumping of snow and freezing temperatures on Saturday added to the misery of hundreds of Colorado residents who started the new year trying to salvage the remains of their homes.
Less than 6 inches (0.15 m) of snow and temperatures in the single digits cast a terrifying sight among the still-smoldering remains of homes destroyed in Thursday’s wildfire, which runs through the suburban area that runs between Denver and Boulder. situated at. Despite the shocking change in weather, the smell of smoke still permeates the empty streets blocked by National Guard soldiers in Humvees.
Red Cross shelter volunteers distributed electric space heaters to the thousands of residents whose homes were set on fire as utility teams struggle to restore natural gas and electricity.
At least seven people were injured in wildfires around 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Denver, in and around the neighboring cities of Louisville and Superior, with a combined population of 34,000. More than 500 houses are feared destroyed.
Fires that burned at least 9.4 square miles (24 square kilometers) were no longer considered an immediate threat.
Families forced to escape the flames with little warning began returning to their neighborhoods on Friday to find a patchwork of devastation. In some blocks, houses were turned into smoking ruins, standing next to people practically unaffected by the fire.
“For 35 years I walked out my front door, I saw beautiful houses,” said Eric House. “Now when I walk out, my house is standing. I walk out my front door and that’s what I see.”
Kathy Glaub found her home in Superior turned into a pile of burnt and rotted rubble. It was one of seven consecutive houses that were destroyed.
“The mailbox is standing,” said Glab, trying to break a smile through tears. She added sadly, “So many memories.”
Despite the devastation, she said they intend to rebuild the house she and her husband have owned since 1998. They love that the land recedes into a natural place, and that they have a view of the mountains from behind.
Rick Dixon feared there would be nothing to return after the firefighters on the news tried to save his burning home. On Friday, Dixon, his wife and son found that it was mostly worn out, with a hole in the roof but still standing.
“We thought we lost everything,” he said, as he kept his mother-in-law’s china in padded containers. They also found statues of Dixon’s father and piles of clothing still on hangers.
As the flames spread at an alarming speed through drought-stricken areas, spurred by gusts of 105 mph (169 kph) by the guests, tens of thousands were ordered to flee.
The cause of the fire was being investigated. Emergency officials said utility officials could not find any power lines around the site of the fire.
With some roads still closed, people went back to their homes to get clothes or medicine, to turn off the water to keep the pipes from freezing, or to see if they still had a home. They gave up carrying backpacks and dragging suitcases or wagons down the sidewalk.
David Marx was standing on a hill with others looking out to Superior, using a pair of binoculars and a long-range camera lens to see if his house and his neighbors were still there, but he certainly didn’t. Could not tell whether his place was right or not. At least three friends lost their homes, he said.
He saw from the hill that the neighborhood was burning.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. … just from house to house, fences, stuff in the wind, it just caught fire.”
President Joe Biden on Friday declared a major disaster in the region, ordering federal aid to be made available to those affected.
Wildfires flare up unusually late in the year, after an extremely dry autumn and a middle winter until overnight snowfall.
Pele said more than 500 homes were probably destroyed. He and Governor Jared Polis said more than 1,000 homes may have been lost, although it would not be known until crews could assess the damage.
Superior and Louisville are filled with middle- and upper-middle-class subdivisions with shopping centers, parks, and schools. This area is between Denver and Boulder, which is home to the University of Colorado.
Scientists say climate change is making the weather more extreme and wildfires becoming more frequent and destructive.
Ninety-nine percent of Boulder County is in severe or extreme drought, and had not seen enough rainfall since mid-summer. Denver set a record for consecutive days without snow before a minor storm hit on December 10, its last snowfall before wildfires.
Bruce Janda personally suffered the loss of his Louisville home of 25 years on Friday.
“We knew the house was complete, but I felt the need to look at it, see what the rest of the neighborhood looked like,” he said. “We all know each other and we all love each other. It’s hard to see this happening to all of us.”