Governor sees ‘miracle’ in devastating Colorado fires
Colorado Governor Jared Polis has reported there has been no known loss of life from the devastating wildfires that have claimed over 500 homes.
“We may have our own New Year's miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life,” Polis said at a press conference on Friday.
No deaths would be “quite the testimony to preparedness and emergency response,” he added, as residents only had minutes to evacuate as the blazes spread rapidly due to high winds.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said earlier the fires had eliminated at least 500 homes and destroyed entire subdivisions. The burn area includes approximately 2,000 homes, up to half of which may have been heavily impacted by the fires, authorities said.
Pelle also referred to no deaths as “miraculous” on Friday, and he said authorities do not have the long list of missing persons typical for such incidents, saying only one person was reported missing and they have since been accounted for.
Numerous injuries have been reported, however, including from first responders, and the sheriff said to expect more.
Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes on Thursday, with the towns of Superior and Louisville the first to evacuate. Among the destruction is a Tesla facility that photos show has nearly burnt to the ground.
Thousands in the state remain without power. An official investigation into the fire is underway, though authorities have said high winds blowing up to 105 miles per hour helped spread what was likely a blaze caused by downed power lines.
“The origin of the fire hasn’t been confirmed. It's suspected to be power lines,” Pelle said.
Governor Polis said on Friday that he has spoken to President Joe Biden about the matter, and he expressed his “regards” and “support” for Colorado citizens and offered federal assistance as damage reports are being completed.
Flames could still be seen as of Friday morning, something authorities say expected snowfall in the county should help address shortly.
The Colorado fires are not expected to cause any additional damage thanks to the incoming snow, while the damaged area covers about 6,000 acres.
“I think we are pretty well contained except for what’s happening inside the fire zone,” the sheriff said.