The residents of two Colorado towns were abruptly uprooted from their homes this week.
According to the BBC, wildfires erupted on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes and displacing thousands of residents of two towns near Boulder.
“The neighborhood that you live in”
Fortunately, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis cited a “New Years’ Eve miracle” that there were no deaths initially reported in connection with the blazes. The fires are already being considered the worst in Colorado’s history.
Two separate wildfires — known as the Marshall Fire and the Middle Fork Fire — were unusual in that they struck a mostly suburban region of the state. Video clips posted by witnesses depicted shoppers leaving stores to find the parking lot shrouded in smoke.
As Polis explained in a statement, the impacted area is “like the neighborhood that you live in,” asserting that the destruction of an estimated 1,600 acres so close to a populated area is “absolutely devastating.”
Approximately 30,000 residents of Louisville and Superior were ordered to evacuate, USA Today reported. The towns are about four miles apart and roughly 30 miles north of Denver.
“Struggling to understand”
In addition to homes, a number of businesses — including a Target store and a hotel — were also destroyed, according to Boulder Sheriff Joe Pelle. In total, the blazes burned through an estimated 6,000 acres.
Seven individuals, including at least one first emergency worker, were reportedly injured.
Press images of the destruction showed a curtain of smoke hanging over the Denver skyline as the fire burned through everything in its path. One survivor said that he lost his home, dog, and cat in the blaze.
“It’s just a strange feeling to go from having everything to make your life comfortable to having nothing,” the man said, according to the BBC.
Polis, who declared the fire an emergency, explained: “It was in the blink of an eye. This was a disaster in fast motion, all in the course of half a day. This is our community so to watch it burn so quickly, so unexpectedly, is something that we are struggling to understand.”