In a press conference held on Friday at 10:00 a.m., city officials shared that the Marshall and Middle Fork fires likely burned approximately 6,000 acres of land in Superior, Lousiville and parts of Boulder County, causing damage to at least 500 homes.
“The last 24 hours have been devastating,” Governor Jared Polis said.
The fire is still active within the burn zone. However, with the arrival of snow to the area, growth or further significant damage are not expected.
According to Gov. Polis, President Joe Biden swiftly finalized the major disaster declaration Friday morning to assist houses and small businesses. Officials shared that they will continue to work with FEMA and the federal government to provide resources to those affected.
With a sudden change in weather conditions, officials will be working with FEMA to finalize plans for residence during the winter storm warning.
Approximately 200 people are sheltering at the provided emergency shelters, while others opted to leave the area to stay with family and friends.
The fire is believed to have started after power lines were knocked down by high winds that reached 105 mph at times. There is an active investigation of the origins of the fire.
The high winds caused the fire to move rapidly. Gov. Polis shared that many residents had only minutes to safely evacuate their homes because of the winds.
Two major hospitals, as well as schools, were spared by the fire.
Mayor Ashley Stolzman of Louisville instructed residents to avoid the area until the evacuation order has been lifted. She also asked residents to conserve water due to likely contamination from the fires. The area is under a boil order at this point in time.
Currently, Highway 36 continues to be closed.
Once the area is safer, officials will begin to document the damage and share specifics of what homes were affected. According to Sheriff Joe Pelle, this will take at least one day to finalize.
Chancellor Philip DiStefano, in a message to the university community, said that CU Boulder would “review possible spring term operational changes in order to support our campus community.”
At 4 p.m. on Friday, System President Todd Saliman sent a statement to community members providing information on how to give support to those impacted and asking readers to be “grateful for our friends, family and community.”
“This is a terrible tragedy, and we will stand together to help those in need,” Saliman said.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Zoe Schacht at firstname.lastname@example.org.