Colorado wildfires: 2 missing after devastating fires followed by heavy snow | US news

Search teams search for two missing people in the snow-covered rubble from the devastating wildfires that have ravaged parts of Colorado.

Nearly 1,000 homes have been destroyed and hundreds destroyed Fires hit two towns in Boulder County in the United States.

For those who survived the flames, heavy snowfall exacerbated the misery.

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A house destroyed by fire in a forest fire. Pic: AP

US President Joe Biden declared the scene a national disaster, freeing up federal funds to help those affected and businesses in recovery efforts.

Joe Bailey, Boulder County Sheriff, said Sunday that three people were initially reported missing but one has been identified.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Mr Bailey said authorities are following up on a number of information and have carried out a search warrant at «one particular location», without providing further details.

After visiting some of the affected neighborhoods, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said: «I know this is a tough time in your life if you’ve lost everything or you don’t even know what you’ve lost.

«A few days ago you were celebrating Christmas at home and hanging your socks and now the house and hearth are destroyed.»

Remains of a truck destroyed by forest fires before heavy snowfall.  Pic: AP
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Remains of a truck destroyed by forest fires before heavy snowfall. Pic: AP

Winter grassland fires are rare in Colorado, but experts have warned that similar events will be more common in the coming years as climate change warms the planet.

Professor Jonathan Overbeck, a University of Michigan climate scientist, said: «These fires are different from most fires we’ve seen across the West, in the sense that they are grass fires and occur in winter.

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«Ultimately, things will continue to deteriorate unless we stop climate change.»

The fire burned over an area of ​​at least 9.4 square miles on Thursday, and firefighters eventually controlled it on New Year’s Eve.

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Homes catch fire as wildfires rage in Colorado

A Marshall fire engulfs a home in Louisville, Colorado, Thursday, December 30, 2021 as crews worked through the night fighting a blaze that destroyed more than 500 homes in Boulder County.  (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
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Two people missing after bushfires

The fires were ignited by winds of up to 105 miles per hour, helping to spread the flames to new ground.

Tens of thousands of people were ordered to flee, many fleeing in thick smoke as the fires approached.

As the property’s remains continued to burn on New Year’s Day, it was starting to snow.

The cities of Louisville and Superior, northwest of Denver, have been evacuated
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The cities of Louisville and Superior, northwest of Denver, have been evacuated

Families would return to their neighborhoods to find shells burned to their homes.

When resident Cathy Glabb returned to her property, she found it had been reduced to a pile of charred and twisted debris. It was one of seven consecutive homes destroyed.

«The mailbox is standing,» said Mrs. Ghallab, weeping. «Many memories.»

Snow covers the remains of burned homes in Louisville, Colorado.  Pic: AP
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Snow covers the remains of burned homes in Louisville, Colorado. Pic: AP

Red Cross shelter volunteers have distributed electric heaters to residents while officials struggle to restore gas and electricity.

Historic droughts and heatwaves have made fighting wildfires even more difficult in the area, with 90% of Boulder County experiencing severe or extreme drought that hasn’t seen any rain since midsummer.

Extreme weather is also taking hold in other parts of the United States, with heavy snow disrupting road travel in the Pacific Northwest to California, and severe thunderstorms across the south damaging homes and buildings in Alabama.

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