Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed, hundreds more were damaged after a wildfire charred numerous neighborhoods in a suburban area at the base of the Rocky Mountains northwest of Denver.
While no fatalities had been reported in connection with the fires as of Saturday evening, three people have been reported missing. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle called the lack of casualties or fatalities “pretty miraculous” after surveying the extensive damage. Officials were organizing cadaver teams to search for the missing in the Superior area and in unincorporated Boulder County. The task is complicated by debris from destroyed structures, covered by 8 inches of snow dumped by a storm overnight, Sheriff Pelle said.
As the flames swept over drought-stricken neighborhoods with alarming speed, propelled by gusts up to 105 mph, tens of thousands were ordered to flee.
Another view of burning homes in #Boulder #Colorado #fire #wildfire #disaster #climatechange #Boulder #BoulderCounty #bouldercolorado #Colorado #coloradofire #Superior #superiorfire #wind pic.twitter.com/sqRtG1tdRu
— Internet Clips 📸 (@intxrnetclips) December 31, 2021
President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Colorado on Friday and federal funding for those affected, according to a statement from the White House. “Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the White House announced in the release. “Federal funding is also available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the Boulder County.”
.@POTUS spoke this morning with Governor Jared Polis to discuss the no-notice wildfires that have caused significant property damage and loss in Colorado. President Biden assured him that every effort will be made to provide immediate help to people in the impacted communities.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 31, 2021
Gov. Jared Polis had declared a state of emergency soon after the rapidly spreading wildfires chased residents out of their homes with almost no warning. The Governor expressed his gratitude that residents were able to mobilize fast enough to get out of the fire’s path. “We might have our very own New Year’s Miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life,” Polis said.
Grateful to @POTUS for his swift authorization of a Major Disaster Declaration, and per our request, for including individual assistance resources in the order.
— Joe Neguse (@JoeNeguse) January 1, 2022