According to Reuters news agency, local authorities said on Thursday, Dec. 30, 30,000 people were forced to flee as a blazing fire became more violent. There is a severe drought in this area. Wind gusts of 105 mph aided in the spread of the fire.
Residents have started returning home to evaluate the damage, with many of their homes suffering destruction.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle told a reporter Friday when asked about the extent of the damage, “I would estimate it is going to be at least 500 homes, I would not be surprised if it’s 1,000.”
Jeff Conroy told local media in Louisville that he witnessed his family’s home burn down.
“The fire department left before I did,” he told USA Today. “They knew it couldn’t be saved, but I had to watch. And I stayed until our house walls were fully gone.”
Another Louisville resident, Linda Jackson, told the Denver Channel that the fire destroyed her 20-year-old home.
She said, “I could see flames in my backyard and I knew I had to get out. I went downstairs, no electricity in my garage and my garage wouldn’t open. I thought about just walking out and walking down the street, but I called 911 and the fire department came and got me out.”
Late Friday into Saturday, the area should see three to six inches of snow. The weather pattern, according to Pelle, will deliver moisture to the arid region, assisting in the extinguishment of the remaining fires.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Friday, “At this point, as long as the weather holds up here, there’s not going to be substantial additional damage from this fire.”
To face a catastrophic storm, residents of two Colorado suburbs returned home Saturday through nearly a foot of snow and single-digit temperatures just two days after fleeing the blaze. Unfortunately, due to the rapid weather changes, a new disaster had to be faced: frozen pipes and water damage.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
“We do know we had power lines down in the area of the origin of the fire,” Pelle said. “The origin of the fire hasn’t been confirmed, it’s suspected to be power lines but we are investigating today.”