Wildfires burn hundreds of homes in Colorado, thousands flee

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Thousands of Coloradans, driven from their neighborhoods by wind-ravaged wildfires, eagerly waited to find out what was left of their lives on Friday after the flames, an estimated 580 homes in flames, A hotel and a shopping center burned down.

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At least one first responder and six others were injured in a fire outside Denver on Thursday morning, unusually late in the year, after an extremely dry fall and in the midst of a nearly snow-free winter so far.

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Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pele said there could be more injuries – and deaths – due to the intensity of the high-speed fire, propelled by gusts of 105 mph (169 kph) .

“This is the kind of fire we can’t fight face to face,” Pele said. “We actually had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in those areas that had to be pulled out because they were just over.”

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Mike Guanella and his family were relaxing at their home in downtown Superior and looking forward to celebrating late Christmas, when reports of a fire in the grass nearby ordered them to leave.

Instead of opening presents, Guanella and his wife, their three children and three dogs were staying at a friend’s house in Denver, in the hope that their home was still standing.
“Those gifts are still under the tree – we hope so,” he said.

As night progressed, officers observed the behavior of the wind and flames to determine when the crew could safely leave to assess damage and search for any victims.

About an inch of snow is expected to fall in the area on Friday, which is expected to help douse the fire.

The neighboring cities of Louisville and Superior, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Denver and home to a combined 34,000 people, were ordered to evacuate ahead of flames, which left a blaze on the landscape. The smoky, orange haze cast and lit up the night. Sky.

The two cities are filled with middle- and upper-middle-class subdivisions with shopping centers, parks, and schools. The area is between Denver and Boulder, which is home to the University of Colorado.

Residents evacuated quite calmly and orderly, but the winding roads quickly became clogged. Sometimes it took up to 45 minutes for the cars to move half a mile.

Small fires pop up here and there in astonishing places—on the grass in the middle or in a dumpster in the middle of a parking lot—as gusts fanned the flames. The sky changed from clear to smoky as the winds changed and then back again when the sirens sounded.

Leah Angstman and her husband were returning to their Louisville home from Denver International Airport after being away for the holidays. He left the clear blue sky and immediately entered clouds of brown and yellow smoke.
“The wind shook the bus so hard that I thought the bus would overturn,” she said.

Visibility was so poor that the bus had to overturn. They waited for half an hour until a transit authority van diverted the bus onto the highway. “The sky was dark, dark gray, and the dirt was scurrying across the sidewalk like snakes,” she said.

Vignesh Kashinath, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado, was evacuated from a neighborhood of Superior with his wife and his parents.
“It is only because I am active on Twitter that I came to know about this,” said Kashinath, who said he had not received the evacuation notice from the authorities.

The sheriff said the first fire started just before 10:30 a.m. and was “attacked very early and covered up later in the day”. Pele said a second fire broke out after 11 a.m., which quickly spread and spread. It covers at least 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers).

Officials said some of the many blasts in the area were caused by power lines being snapped.

Scientists say that climate change is making the weather worse and forest fires are becoming more and more destructive.

Colorado’s Front Range, where most of the state’s population lives, had extremely dry and mild winters, and the winter has been mostly dry so far. Denver set a record for consecutive days without snow before a minor storm hit on December 10, its last snowfall before wildfires.

Ninety-nine percent of Boulder County is in severe or extreme drought, and hasn’t seen enough rainfall since mid-summer. “With any snow on the ground, it wouldn’t have happened exactly the way it did,” said snow hydrologist Keith Musselman.

Guanella said he heard from a firefighter friend that his house was still standing Thursday night. But he could only wait and watch. “You’re just waiting to hear if your favorite restaurant is standing still, if the schools your kids go to are still standing,” he said. “You’re just waiting to get some clarity.”


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