Three people are missing after fires that destroyed nearly a thousand homes Thursday in the US state of Colorado, authorities said on Saturday. Since Saturday, storm Frida has crossed the United States: heavy snowfall has calmed the damage caused by the flames, but is slowing down research. The images are impressive.
The United States has been crossed since Saturday by the winter storm Frida: strong winds, floods and snowfall have come to appease the damage caused by the major fire which ravaged Colorado. This Monday, three people are still missing. “We are very lucky not to have a list of 100 missing. But unfortunately we have three people confirmed to be missing.”Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a press conference.
At least 991 homes were destroyed by the flames that ravaged entire neighborhoods of Superior and Louisville, two towns near Denver, the state’s main city, on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee in an emergency.
Snowfall then stopped the spread of the fire on Friday, but also complicated the search for missing people. “The buildings where these people could be were completely destroyed and are now covered with about eight inches of snow “, explained Sheriff Pelle. The snow helped put out the fires, but it is “difficult for surveys, rescue and damage assessment“, he added.
Entire neighborhoods destroyed “in the blink of an eye”
The damage is startling: in aerial images, entire streets are little more than piles of smoking ash. The fire, unlike previous fires, affected suburbs and not just rural areas.
Unlike a previously mentioned lead, investigators found no credible clue to support the hypothesis that the fires, unusual for the season, were caused by falling power lines. According to Sheriff Pelle, witnesses could have confused power lines and telephone lines.
© Belga Images
The flames, fanned by strong winds, destroyed entire neighborhoods “in the blink of an eyeColorado Governor Jared Polis said. “Families had only a few minutes to put everything they could – their animals, their children – in the car and leave”, he had explained. Some 33,000 residents of Superior and Louisville were ordered to evacuate their homes Thursday, most with only the clothes they had on their backs.
A drought that gets worse from year to year
Colorado has been hit for several years by exceptional drought, like much of the American West. In recent years, this part of the United States has experienced unprecedented fires, especially in California and Oregon. With global warming, the intensity and frequency of drought and heatwave episodes are likely to increase further, continuing to create ideal conditions for forest or bush fires.