The unprecedented wildfires in Colorado have caused more than 30,000 people to flee from their homes, many of which have been destroyed in the blaze.
The wildfires have consumed more than 1,600 acres in Boulder County in only a few hours. According to the Boulder County sheriff, no one had been reported dead or missing on Thursday, but over 500 homes had been destroyed between the towns of Superior and Old Town Superior.
The blaze also downed power lines, causing at least 15,000 people in the dark on Friday morning, according to sheriff Joe Pelle.
One Resident Describes People Evacuating Like ‘Antelope, Running All Over The Place’
On Thursday, a local resident told CNN that he was shopping for soup at a local Costco when an employee told customers that they needed to evacuate. Although he said that people were initially calm when they left the store, they eventually took off like “antelope, running all over the place.”
“It was pretty scary,” he continued. “It was kind of like a life beyond a dream,” he said. “It was just apocalyptic-feeling.”
“But people were running from their houses with their pet cats and, you know, everybody was very panic-stricken,” he added. “The thing that really struck me was the fear in the police officers’ face(s) who were trying to kind of get traffic going. They were legitimately scared.”
Colorado Governor Says Wind Gusts Are Driving The Destruction
This morning I’m joined by our emergency management experts to inspect the damage caused by the Marshall and Middle Fork fires. This is a tragedy and the emergency is not over. We will work together to support Coloradans affected by this devastating fire #coloradostrong pic.twitter.com/fIXdeEl7er
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) December 31, 2021
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said that wind gusts on Thursday had exacerbated the blaze, which caused the fire to spread “down a football field in a matter of seconds.”
One Boulder resident told CNN that “One minute, there was nothing. Then, plumes of smoke appeared. Then, flames. Then, the flames jumped around and multiplied.”
On Friday morning, Governor Polis tweeted, “This morning I’m joined by our emergency management experts to inspect the damage caused by the Marshall and Middle Fork fires. This is a tragedy and the emergency is not over. We will work together to support Coloradans affected by this devastating fire #coloradostrong”
Some Residents Have Lost ‘Every Material Possession’ In The Blaze
Another resident, a University of Colorado assistant football coach, said that he and his family lost “every material possession” in the wildfire.
“Just got word that every material possession we had today is now gone,” he tweeted. “Our home, cars, and everything we had in our home lost to the fires that ripped through our community. Thank you to those who reached out. Processing how to completely start over and grateful for our health.”
“Nothing can make the darkness feel light,” one person commented. “Losing everything creates a closeness within the family, you will get through this, lean on others that want to help, cry as much as you need to.”
“Praying for you,” added another. “Please let us know if we can help in any way.”