Colorado Fires: Bushfires in Boulder County Force Thousands to Evacuate

DENVER – Thousands of residents in two communities near Boulder were ordered to evacuate Thursday as a wind-driven wildfire flooded parts of the area in a smoky sky.

The city of Louisville, with a population of about 21,000, was ordered to evacuate after residents of Superior, which has 13,000 residents, were told to leave. Nearby towns are about 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Denver.

The blaze was among several that started in the area on Thursday, at least some sparked by collapsed power lines, as winds gusted up to 105 mph (169 km/h), according to the Service. National Weather.

Videos taken by residents show buildings on fire, though officials have yet to provide any information. They were scheduled to speak at a news conference Thursday night

Spokesperson Kelli Christensen said six people injured in the fire were being treated at UCHealth Broomfield Hospital. A nearby section of US Highway 36 was also closed.

Colorado’s Front Range, where most of the state’s population lives, has had an extremely dry and mild fall, and winters have so far continued to be mostly dry. However, snow is expected on Friday in the area.

A video taken by an outsider outside a Superior Costco store shows the apocalypse with winds blowing through barren trees in a parking lot surrounded by gray skies, a dim sun and clouds. Small fires scattered on the ground.

Leah Angstman and her husband saw similar dark skies when returning to their Louisville home from Denver International Airport from vacation. As they were sitting on the bus heading toward Boulder, Angstman recalls immediately leaving the clear blue sky and entering clouds of brown and yellow smoke.

“The wind shook the bus so hard that I thought the bus would overturn,” she wrote in a text message to the AP news agency.

Visibility was so poor that the bus pulled over and they waited for half an hour until a regional transit truck escorted them to the turn on the highway. There she saw four separate fires burning in the bushes across the freeway, she said.

“The sky was pitch black, dark brown, and the dust swirled across the pavement like snakes,” she said.

Angstman then ended up evacuating, got in the car with her husband, and drove northeast with no idea where they were going.

Vignesh Kasinath, an assistant professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder, evacuated a neighborhood in Superior with his wife and her parents. Kasinath said the family was overwhelmed by the sudden evacuation warning and worried about the chaos while trying to leave.

“Only because I’m active on Twitter did I know about this,” Kasinath said, adding that he had not received an official evacuation notice from authorities.

The fire prompted Governor Jared Polis to declare a state of emergency, giving the state access to disaster emergency funds.

Evacuations come as climate change is making weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and more destructive, say scientists. A historic drought and heatwaves have made wildfires harder to fight in the western United States.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. Colorado Fires: Bushfires in Boulder County Force Thousands to Evacuate

Dais Johnston

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