The National Weather Service says the situation is “life threatening” and Colorado Governor Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency. The residents of Louisville (18,000 residents) and Superior (13,000) were evacuated. At least six people were injured in the bushfires, and the nature of their injuries is unknown.
According to Polis, “hundreds of homes have already been destroyed,” although the true extent of the damage has not yet been determined. The local police chief reports that 500 homes may already have been destroyed by the fire, the Washington Post wrote. Pictures on social media show that the sky is colored red.
Wind gusts of more than 160 kilometers per hour make it difficult for the fire service to control the fire. The governor said at a news conference Thursday that the fires are burning quickly and all firefighting planes must be kept on the ground due to the high winds. “We pray for the thousands of families who have had to leave their homes.”
Wildfires are more common in this area, but they are “unusual” for that time of year, according to meteorologist Daniel Swain of the University of California. “Hard to believe, but record temperatures, little snowfall and strong winds are causing these dangerous fires,” he wrote on Twitter. Mayor Superior spoke to The Washington Post, upset about the “perfect storm.”
It is related to several fires that may have started as a result of falling electricity poles.