The images are stark, tragic, and bewildering. Hundreds, perhaps even a thousand homes were completely obliterated by a wildfire that tore through Colorado subdivisions in the closing hours of last year. Watch this drone video of the Colorado wildfire devastation.
Dry conditions and winds in excess of 100 mph fueled the flames and sent more than 30,000 people fleeing their homes. Two people are still missing and presumed dead and at least seven people are injured.
Brett Adair‘s company Live Storms Media posted drone video before the flames had gone out.
It’s beggar’s belief to see entire subdivisions just eradicated. But that’s what the fires did to neighborhoods in Superior and Louisville, suburbs about 20 miles northwest of Denver. The fires follow months of drought and exceptional heat. Climate change is the likely culprit, and it’s lengthening the western fire season.
Drone video of the Colorado wildfire devastation
Bin Zhang and his wife are Chinese emigrants who bought a Louisville home two years ago. It’s now burned to the ground.
“We enjoyed the neighborhood and open space,” he told the Guardian. “It was a peaceful place to live near a vibrant city like Boulder. The force of nature is beyond everyone’s description.”
Drone photographer Karl Hoops managed to get a few shots of the fires actually burning and of firefighters attempting to get them under control.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle says the flames destroyed an area of more than nine square miles and likely obliterated a thousand homes.
“It’s unbelievable when you look at the devastation that we don’t have a list of 100 missing persons,” Pelle said.
U.S. President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the fire-ravaged areas.
In 2020, Colorado suffered three of the largest wildfires in its history. Those fires burned over the course of days or even weeks. This recent fire cleared neighborhoods and shopping plazas in just a few hours. The high winds that fanned the flames also knocked over power lines, which were initially believed to have sparked the fire. Now, the sheriff says a search warrant was issued in connection with the fire investigation but declined to offer details.
“This hit close to home for so many of us,” says Colorado governor Jared Polis. “But also in terms of this being a fire that wasn’t a wildfire in the forest. We talk about houses destroyed. Each house is not just a house. It’s a home. It’s a sanctuary of comfort and a reservoir of memories.”
There’s some fairly disturbing video taken at ground level as well.
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