Hundreds of homes have been lost after two wildfires started and grew quickly Thursday as high winds whipped through the Front Range in Colorado, forcing tens of thousands of residents from their homes, the Boulder County sheriff said.
Sheriff Joe Pelle estimated 580 homes or other structures in and around Superior may have been lost.
A shopping center and a hotel in Superior also were engulfed by the flames.
“Historic” 80-100 mph winds, with gusts in the state as high as 115 mph, fed the wildfires that injured at least six people, prompted a hospital to send patients elsewhere and forced the evacuation of Superior and Louisville near Boulder.
The Marshall Fire had burned at least 1,600 acres and had spread east across Superior and Louisville, the sheriff said. The other fire is known as the Middle Fork Fire, but Pelle said it was attacked quickly and “laid down.” Authorities were keeping an eye on it, the sheriff added.
There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties or missing people, Pelle said. One law enforcement officer suffered a minor eye injury from blowing debris.
“I’d like to emphasize that due to the magnitude of this fire, the intensity of this fire and its presence in such a heavily populated area, we would not be surprised if there are injuries or fatalities,” he added.
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