More than 1 000 homes have been destroyed or damaged and three people are missing, presumed dead, after a catastrophic wildfire erupted on December 30, 2021, and tore through the communities of Superior and Louisville, a suburban area between Denver and Boulder, Colorado.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said Saturday, January 1, 2022, that three people are missing after a rare December wildfire destroyed 991 homes, and damaged 127 more.1
In total, 553 homes were destroyed and 45 damaged in Louisville, 332 were destroyed and 60 damaged in Superior, while in incorporated Boulder County, 105 homes were destroyed and 22 damaged.
This made it the most destructive wildfire on record for the state of Colorado.
Sheriff Pelle said 2 people are missing in Superior and another in the Marshall area. "Each of their homes was lost to Thursday’s wind-driven wildfire," the sheriff said.
The fire broke out in the middle of the day and was driven by wind gusts above 160 km/h (100 mph), forcing at least 33 000 people to evacuate with little notice.
Pelle said investigators are still trying to find the cause of the blaze.
Overnight dumping of snow and frigid temperatures on Saturday, January 1, compounded the misery of hundreds of Colorado residents who started off the new year trying to salvage what remained of their homes, ABC reported.2
The snow cast an eerie scene amid the still-smoldering remains of homes destroyed. Despite the shocking change in weather, the smell of smoke still permeated empty streets blocked off by National Guard troops in Humvees.
As of 13:00 UTC on January 1, the Marshall Fire has consumed 2 516 ha (6 219 acres) of land and 62% of the perimeter has been contained.3
Approximately 200 fire personnel plus Team Rubicon, Xcel Energy, numerous law enforcement agencies, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, and Colorado National Guard are currently working on the fire and recovery efforts.
The primary objective for managing this fire is public and firefighter safety while minimizing impacts to structures and repopulating communities as soon as conditions are safe to do so.
Crews are working throughout the fire area to remove any remaining areas of heat along the fire perimeter, secure structures, and ensure that the area is safe for damage assessment teams and utility crews to continue with their work. Fire personnel will continue to support these important operations as well as respond to any possible increased fire activity.
Areas of significant heat still exists around some of the impacted structures. These heat sources can flare up and may be visible especially at night. It will take firefighters some time to methodically go around each structure to ensure that they are out and pose no hazard to the fire perimeter or adjacent unburned structures.
1 MAP: These are the 991 homes destroyed and 127 damaged in the Marshall fire - The Colorado Sun
2 Nearly 1,000 homes destroyed in Colorado wildfire, three feared dead - ABC
3 Marshall Fire Update from Incident Management Team – Jan. 1, 2022 - Boulder County
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