Colorado: Hundreds of homes destroyed as wildfires spread
Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and hundreds of homes have been destroyed as wildfires spread through the US state of Colorado.
The fast-moving fires are burning in Boulder County, north of Denver and officials say deaths and injuries are likely as the blazes spread further. Some 30,000 people in the towns of Louisville and Superior were told to leave their homes on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared by Governor Jared Polis. Winds of up to 169 kilometres per hour are sweeping flames across the region following a historic drought.
And while previous fires in Colorado have been in rural areas, these latest blazes are taking place in more suburban parts of the state.
At least some were sparked when power lines were toppled by strong winds and they have quickly become the most destructive wildfires in the modern history of the state. The Marshall Fire continues to burn out of control in Broomfield, Colorado.
While previous fires in Colorado have been in rural areas, these latest blazes are taking place in towns. Some 370 homes went up in flames west of Superior and 210 were lost in the Old Town area of Superior, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.
A shopping complex and hotel were also fully engulfed. One first responder and six others were injured, the Sheriff said, adding that more casualties were likely.
Colorado has been experiencing extreme droughts in recent years. Climate change increases the risk of the hot, dry weather that is likely to fuel wildfires.
The world has already warmed by about 1.2 degrees Celsius since the industrial era began and temperatures will keep rising unless governments around the world make steep cuts to emissions.
A wildfire broke out yesterday in Colorado. Due to the strong wind, the fire quickly spread to residential buildings. About 600 houses were burnt down. More than 35 thousand people were evacuated. #coloradofire #boulderfire #BoulderCounty #BoulderColorado #MarshallFire pic.twitter.com/2MiaI4g0v3
— Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) December 31, 2021