State of emergency declared as Colorado fires pick up, destroying more than 580 homes in the U.S. state, forcing thousands of households and families to evacuate. The fast-spreading wildfires started off as small grass fires due to downed power lines but got dangerously fueled by up to 105 mph gusts of wind, destroying buildings and houses alike.
‘The Marshall Fire’ was reported to be the biggest and most intense among the wildfires, starting just around 11 a.m. on Thursday, but spreading over to more than 1,600 acres of land in the area. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle after the Colorado fires was declared a state of emergency gave a statement, “This is the kind of fire we can’t fight head-on. We actually had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in areas that had to pull out because they just got overrun.”
Previously he referred to the concerning speed of the fire during his briefing when he admitted, “I have never seen anything like it,” adding, “We’ve been really concerned about the speed of the fire. This was consuming football-field lengths of land in seconds.”
34,000 people in the area of Superior and Louisville were issued mandatory evacuation orders within Boulder County by Thursday afternoon when horrendously large amounts of smoke were seen around the area. The National Weather Service in Boulder tweeted, “Life-threatening situation in Superior and Louisville areas!.. Fast-moving fires are in the area,” urging residents to immediately get their necessities and leave.
Jared Polis, the Colorado governor declared the Colorado fires a state of emergency to release disaster emergency resources and funds as soon as possible. “This fire is not so much a question of resources. This fire is a force of nature.” noted governor Polis. Several federal resources, including the National Guard, were reportedly involved in aiding in the emergency efforts to evacuate and rescue.
Residents in some parts of Westminster, Colorado were also asked to evacuate on a mandatory basis. Centura Health’s Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville had to evacuate several patients, including many in critical care, to move them to a safer location.
“Avista Adventist Hospital has been a part of this community since 1895 and to see this level of devastation is heartbreaking for all of us. Our hospital is in the center of a neighborhood that burned today. Despite what we saw outside our doors, our team was focused on quickly and safely evacuating our patients and staff,” said Isaac Sendros, chief executive officer for Avista Adventist Hospital in a statement after evacuating due to the Colorado fires.