SUPERIOR, Colorado (KDVR) – As crews assess the catastrophic damage from the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, Colorado, a silver lining: no reported deaths and no reports of missing people as of Friday morning.
The Marshall Fire quickly became the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, in terms of homes destroyed.
According to Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, at least 500 homes have been confirmed destroyed in the town of Superior. That number does not include the communities that burned east and west of Superior, or the homes damaged in parts of Broomfield or Louisville.
Gov. Polis and other officials did a flyover of the burn scar Friday morning. He estimated as many as 1,000 homes may be destroyed. Sheriff Pelle said “he wouldn’t be surprised” if the destruction totaled beyond that count.
Two thousand homes were in the burn scar area, which spanned 6,000 acres. Firefighters do not expect the fire to grow, as snow moves into the area. The main focus for crews will be putting out hotspots, as the Marshall Fire still smokes and smolders in suburban neighborhoods.
Officials say they’re aware of injuries caused by the wildfire and winds but have yet to confirm any casualties.
“We might have our very own New Year’s miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life,” said Gov. Jared Polis said.
While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Sheriff Pelle said it is believed to have sparked from downed active power lines, toppled over from wind gusts up to 115 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
More than 30,000 Coloradans are still under evacuation at this time, as several community hubs have stepped up to provide shelter to displaced people and animals in the fire’s path.
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There are several community efforts underway to help victims of the Marshall Fire, accepting donated goods or monetary donations to help. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management urges people to keep the emergency phone lines clear while the emergency is active.