Colorado Governor Says Biden Approved Declaration of Emergency in State Over Wildfires
17:15 GMT 31.12.2021 (Updated: 17:51 GMT 31.12.2021)
The Boulder County sheriff suggested that the fire won't be put out until the strong winds that helped it spread come to an end. However, weather forecasts indicate that the area might soon see significant snowfall that may help resolve the problem.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis said that he discussed the introduction of a state of emergency in the state in response to the wildfires with US President Joe Biden
, noting that POTUS approved of his plans. The state of emergency would allow Colorado to tap into disaster funds for relief.
Around 6.5 square kilometres
(1,600 acres) of land were engulfed by the wildfire in Boulder County, outside Denver, Colorado on the night between 30 and 31 December. So far, six people have been hospitalised with burns.
The fire has already destroyed at least 580 homes and prompted the evacuation of 30,000 people from two Colorado cities – Louisville and Superior. A portion of Highway 36 was also blocked due to the fires.
9 December 2021, 08:43 GMT
The mayor of Superior said that entire neighbourhoods had been set ablaze as locals were "literally watching it burn".
Local broadcaster KDVR reported, citing state officials, that the wildfire is already considered one of the worst in terms of the number of homes destroyed.
The wildfire reportedly started after a power line was downed, setting off sparks that ignited dry grass. Most of Boulder Country has been suffering from a drought since the middle of summer. The blaze also quickly spread around the area thanks to strong winds, which are still preventing state emergency services from putting out the fire, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle stated.
"The end won’t come until the wind subsides. This is the kind of fire you can’t fight head-on. We actually had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in areas that had to pull out because they just got overrun", Joe Pelle said.
At the same time, weather forecasts project that a heavy snowstorm will hit the area later on 31 December, according to CBS Denver.
Snow hydrologist Keith Musselman suggested in an interview with the AP that had the snow fallen earlier, there would not have been a blaze like that in Colorado. He also suggested that the projected snowfall will bring substantial relief.