Fires in Colorado: Sheriff reports 3 missing and almost a thousand homes destroyed


Elise Delaware walks through the remains of her fire-burned home in The Enclave, Louisville.

Elise Delaware walks through the remains of her fire-burned home in The Enclave, Louisville.

Photo: JASON CONNOLLY / AFP / Getty Images

The Nevada that spread overnight finally extinguished the forest fires most destructive in the history of Coloradoauthorities said in the boulder county Saturday, when they reported that three people are missing, according Colorado Public Radio.

The Boulder County Sheriff, Joe Pelle, said authorities plan to bring in dead dogs, as the missing are likely dead. Pelle said the missing people, two from Superior and one from Marshall, were in their homes when fires swept through the area Thursday.

“The structures where these people were when the fires occurred are completely destroyed and covered in about 8 inches of snow at this time,” Pelle told reporters Saturday afternoon.

Sheriff Pelle also reported that the investigation into the origin of the fires concontinues.

Thursday’s fires tore through the cities of Superior and Louisville, two townships in the suburban stretch from Denver to Boulder, forcing the evacuation of more than 30,000 people and leaving ash and debris where hundreds of homes once stood.

Authorities had previously estimated that at least 500 houses were destroyed, But on Saturday, Pelle said the last count was 991 destroyed, including 553 in Louisville and 332 in Superior. Another 127 homes were damaged, the Sheriff said.

Boulder County officials had announced Friday that no one had died and that all people had been accounted for missing. Governor Jared Polis called it a “New Years miracle.” But later on Friday, local television station 9News reported that a 91-year-old woman named Nadine Turnbull was still missing. Relatives told the station who tried unsuccessfully to evacuate Turnbull from his home in Upper Old Town during the fire.

“They tried to go out through the neighbor’s front door. It was engulfed in flames, ”Hutch Armstrong, Turnbull’s grandson in law, told 9News. The family subsequently reported her missing.

Snowfall that put out fires in December

The fires, which erupted dramatically and suddenly on Thursday, were extinguished by snowfall that began Friday afternoon and lasted overnight into Saturday. More than 8 inches of snow fell in Louisville, reported the National Weather Service (NWS).

Thursday’s fire was a low vegetation fire, with dry conditions exacerbated by powerful gusts of wind that made it difficult for firefighters to fight the flames on planes, in a region that has suffered an extreme drought, conditions attributed to climate change, which led to the unusual and devastating fires.

The winter weather that came after it created even more difficulties for residents who were lucky enough to be able to return home. Persistent power and gas blackouts were expected to affect thousands of people over the weekend, and on Saturday the city of Superior shut down water service in the burned area to prevent pipes from exploding.

Biden approves major disaster declaration

President Joe Biden approved a declaration major disaster for the fires in and around Boulder County. This will allow residents and business owners to apply for loans and grants for temporary housing and repairs.

Information is available in Spanish for those affected by the fires in https://www.boulderoem.com/emergency-status/

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