One city mayor is calling the situation "very grave."
Wildfires swept over parts of Colorado on December 30 due to high winds, destroying hundreds of homes and forcing thousands of people to flee the smoke and flames.
Strong winds quickly pushed the Marshall Fire across Boulder County on Thursday, destroying approximately 600 homes and businesses in the process, reports the Colorado Sun. The governor has declared a state of emergency because of the disaster.
People reportedly had only minutes to evacuate because of the speed of the fire. Some had to flee stores and wait in the parking lots while fires raged around them.
This video from Colorado\u2019s Marshall fire is terrifying.pic.twitter.com/AWqBvs9lWX— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1640916516
Police and firefighters are only just beginning to count the deaths and injuries caused by the fires, and rescue crew footage shows they were dealing with some terrifying scenes on Thursday.
This video was taken by BPD Patrol Officers in Superior...E of US-36...this afternoon. Our thoughts are with our neighbors tonight who lost their homes and businesses. We continue to assist our law enforcement and fire partners as necessary. #MarshallFire #MiddleForkFirepic.twitter.com/ceydZAAfEM— Broomfield Police (@Broomfield Police) 1640925257
"This was consuming football-field lengths of land in seconds. We had never seen anything like it. This was a horrific event," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said at a news conference.
The fire burned 1,600 acres of land and is said to be the most destructive fire in the history of Colorado.
A hospital had to evacuate its patients because of the heavy smoke created by the fire.
The strong wind combined with the dry summer and fall created the perfect condition for the fire, reported ABC News.
"It's nothing like I would have ever imagined would have happened," said Clint Folsom, mayor of Superior, Colorado. "I hope we don't have fatalities."
He added that many homes were destroyed in "a matter of minutes."
The #marshallfire seen from a Southwest plane. DEN-LAS.pic.twitter.com/CpwgFKNgqr— Drew Shreeve (@Drew Shreeve) 1640910530
According to Pelle, the fire may have been caused by downed power lines.
Pelle also instructed evacuees with COVID-19 to go to a recovery centre at the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, reported CNN.
"Very little time to get out, very little time to even get the most important parts of your life and, yes, it'll be a difficult process for Colorado families who are directly affected to rebuild their lives," said Gov. Jared Polis.