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Out-of-control fires in Colorado send thousands fleeing and destroy around 600 homes

A building and trees lit up by fire in Colorado
A house burns as a wind-driven wildfire forced evacuation of the Superior suburb of Boulder, Colorado, on December 30, 2020.
Eric English/via Reuters

  • Thousands have fled wildfires wreaking havoc in Boulder County, Colorado.
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency on Thursday.
  • Officials say high winds are making the fire hard to tackle.

Thousands of people fled and hundreds of homes were destroyed as wildfires hit Colorado, officials said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced a state of emergency on Thursday "due to grass fires created by high winds."

The Boulder County Office of Emergency Management announced evacuation orders for the cities of Superior and Louisville.

Combined, the towns have more than 30,000 residents, Reuters reported.



Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said around 580 homes or other structures had been destroyed, CNN reported.

Officials suggested fire was spreading fast thanks to high winds, making them almost impossible to contain.

Pelle said "My county is on fire. But this is the kind of fire you can't fight head on," The Washington Post reported.

"This fire is not so much a question of resources," he told a press conference. "This fire is a force of nature."

And Polis said "We hope that the winds die down, that the weather changes," according to the BBC.

"But for those who are directly affected, know that you don't stand alone."

Pelle said he believed the fires were started after power lines were knocked over by the wind, hitting drought-stricken ground, Reuters reported.

The kind of drought that Colorado has recently experienced can be exacerbated by climate change, the BBC noted.

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