The mayors of two Colorado towns said wind-fueled wildfires devastated areas of their communities after residents scrambled to evacuate Thursday.
“We just witnessed incredible devastation around the town, and then also witnessed houses just exploding right before our eyes. It was one of the most disturbing situations I have ever been in,” said Mayor Clint Folsom of Superior, Colorado.
About 370 homes were destroyed in a single subdivision just west of the town of Superior, while another 210 homes may have been lost in Old Town Superior, according to authorities.
Folsom said evacuations had to happen within minutes.
“High windstorm events are not unusual in the Colorado winters in the front range and in other parts of the state. We have certainly had winds like this, although something of this strength was definitely out of the norm. I guess this was always a fear, you know, you would see dry grasses in the great open spaces that we have next to us, and, you know, we all cherish that space for views and hiking and biking trails, but when it gets so dry and then you combine that with wind and some fire, it just becomes a tragic recipe,” he said.
Mayor Ashley Stolzmann of Louisville, Colorado, said the official cause of the fires has not been determined but the early projection is due to downed power lines.
No deaths or missing people were reported immediately, and Stolzmann said emergency teams will be going through the town to locate residents.