A house in Colo, Louisville was destroyed by fire. December 30, 2021 (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Marc Piscotty)
The fire, which devastated the entire neighborhood of the US state of Colorado “in the blink of an eye” was largely extinguished overnight from Friday to Saturday, with heavy snowfall extinguishing the last fires.
At least 500 homes were engulfed in smoke and tens of thousands were forced to evacuate, but no deaths have been reported so far, according to Governor Jared Police, “a miracle”.
Damage is no less striking: in aerial images, entire streets are slightly larger than piles of smoking ash. The fire, unlike the previous fire, affected not only the countryside but also the suburbs.
“Families had only a few minutes to leave everything they could – their animals and children – in the car,” Jared told a news conference Friday.
It was “in the blink of an eye,” he said.
Flames inspired by strong winds blowing at 160km / h on Thursday tore through the sky. The fire is said to have been caused by power lines falling on dry soil.
The final number of houses destroyed is not yet known. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Belle estimated it would be over 500 on Friday, saying “it would not be surprising if it were over 1,000.”
Buildings burned by fire on December 30, 2021 in Superior City, Boulder County, Colorado (AFP / Jason Connolly)
The fire consumed “mosaic,” except for a few districts to destroy neighboring houses, he explained.
Looking at this devastation, it’s surprising that you do not have a list of the 100 missing, but the sheriff said you do not have it.
In an appeal to police with the governor, President Joe Biden assured that, according to the White House, “everything will be done to provide immediate relief to the affected people and people.” Mr. Biden ordered Colorado to provide federal assistance.
– Snowfall –
On Friday, in the ashes of this catastrophic fire, a layer of ice settled, in stark contrast to the furnace of the previous day.
The US Meteorological Agency (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning for parts of the mountainous western part of the country, with heavy rainfall forecast for the coming days.
Superior City, Colorado (West America), on December 30, 2021 (AFP / Jason Connolly)
Joe Belle said the snow “really helps us” and said he did not expect a fire to break out.
Part of the eviction orders were lifted overnight by local authorities.
But places like Superior, where 13,000 people live, are still barred from entering.
Patrick Kilbride, 72, a resident of the city, was ordered to evacuate while on duty, but was only able to save his car and clothes. He told The Denver Post that the house where he had lived for three decades was “only gray.”
An estimated 20,000 residents of Superior, Louisville, have been ordered to boil tap water or use bottled water, while cities use untreated water to fight fires.
– Historical Drought –
Colorado, an already arid state like the western United States, has been battling exceptional drought for years.
Satellite imagery of a fire near the Superior and Louisville cities of Colorado on December 30, 2021 (Satellite Image © 2021 Maxar Technologies / -)
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.
According to UCLA’s meteorologist Daniel Swain, “it’s hard to believe that these fires will happen in December, which is not usually the case in the region.”
“However, only two inches of snow has been reported so far this season.
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