Denver: Three people were reported missing and “feared dead” due to a devastating wildfire that swept through two suburban communities in the US state of Colorado, officials said.
A total of 991 homes and businesses were destroyed by the fire – 553 in Louisville, 332 in Superior and 106 in unincorporated Boulder County, reports Xinhua news agency.
Another 127 structures were damaged, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.
Currently, two people are missing in Superior and another is missing in the Marshall area, according to Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who said the missing people’s homes were engulfed by fire.
The search has been hampered by “eight inches of snow” that covered the smouldering debris, Pelle said in a press conference, and that “cadaver dogs” would be used to search for bodies.
“Their homes are destroyed, potentially there are human remains in those homes,” Pelle said.
“The debris is hot, it’s all fallen in and it’s now covered with 20.3 cm of snow.”
The cause of the 24.3 square km wildfire remains under investigation, the Sheriff said, and that contrary to initial reports investigators have found no evidence indicating that downed power lines sparked the blaze.
The rapidly-spreading infernal, added by 106.2 kph winds, swept across a 10 square km area and through affluent housing communities in a matter of hours, leaving hundreds of families homeless, and many spent the national holiday in make-shift relief centres throughout Boulder County.
Since Friday, 12.7 cm of snow has covered the Denver metropolitan area, according to the National Weather Service, effectively extinguished flickering fingers of fire and leaving behind a smouldering, charred, bleak landscape Saturday, the first day of 2022.
In a phone call with President Joe Biden, who declared a state of emergency, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has secured the release of immediate federal money and assistance for the hundreds who lost their homes.