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Sports Stable Superior Fire: Colorado, Pdf, PPT
A wind-whipped grassfire raged east of Boulder Thursday afternoon, destroying at least 500 homes, shutting down key highways, and forcing the evacuation of over 30,000 people in two communities, including hospital patients.
By 5 p.m., the Marshall fire had grown to 1,600 acres, according to Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. The fire was likely started by downed power lines in the high winds, which reached gusts of more than 100 mph.
Images from the area showed apartment buildings and entire neighborhoods engulfed in flames. Thick smoke blanketed the area, prompting officials to caution people against driving because of the diminished visibility. Superior’s 12,000 people were the first to be evacuated, followed by Louisville with a population of about 20,000. Later in the evening, evacuations widened and parts of Broomfield were under pre-evacuation orders.
Nearly 600 homes have been destroyed in the #MarshallFire – along with hotels, shopping centers and businesses. The fire had burned 1,600 acres and was still growing Thursday night.
The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center for wildfire evacuees at the YMCA of Northern Colorado in Lafayette, Boulder County, the aid organization tweeted Thursday night.
In a separate post, it said residents in the area should protect themselves from wildfire smoke by staying in a room closed off from the outside air, using a portable air cleaner or filter if available, and to avoid lighting gas stoves, candles or fireplaces.
Neguse said state representatives were in close contact with the governor, law enforcement, and first responders.