Colorado Wildfire: Aftermath



A firefighter walks through the remains of a burned home in Louisville, Colorado.

Natalie Ramirez, Reporter

On December 30th, winds reaching over 100 mph spread a wildfire in Colorado which burned a 10-square-mile area in Boulder County. 1,000 houses and businesses were destroyed or damaged in the blaze. Firefighters were able to quell the flames with help from snowy weather. However, the snow further complicated the search for two missing people.

In the area where the fire was believed to have started, downed telecommunication lines were found which could have started the fire. There is an ongoing investigation which could take weeks or months. Boulder County Sheriff, Joe Pelle explains that a proper investigation “is more important than the urge for speed that a lot of folks are feeling right now.”

The day of the fire, over 34,000 people in the area had to evacuate their homes in panic. Susan Hill was among those forced to flee, “I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s so sad. It’s so awful. It’s just devastating.” Luckily for her household, the flames stopped about 100 yards from her home.

Pelle stated, “If it turns out to be arson or reckless behavior with fire, we’ll take appropriate actions.” Although the windy and dry weather should have been a clear indication for Boulder County residents to refrain from lighting any fires, there is the chance that the fire was the result of someone’s misuse. Colorado Governor, Jared Polis said, “If there was any form of deliberate or accidental arson, I fully expect that any of those responsible will be held fully responsible under the law for the utter devastation that was caused.”

Federal partners are going to work with the County Sheriff on the investigation to carefully and professionally figure out the origins of the fire.

On Friday evening, President Joe Biden walked through scorched remains of the devastated area. He promised federal support with the clean-up and rebuilding process for as long as needed. Biden stated that, “The way you’re going to get through this — because we’ve been through a few things ourselves — is just hang on to one another.”