According to officials, a wildfire that took place last week caused around $513 million in damage. Additionally, 1,100 homes and buildings were destroyed by the blaze. It was the most destructive wildfire in state history. This is the first estimate of how much damage was done by the fire. The blaze damaged entire communities between Denver and Boulder. The last assessment had an estimate of 991 burned homes and buildings. The fire covered 9.4 square miles in the Boulder, CO area.
Additionally, two people are still missing from the blaze. So far, partial human remains have been found in one location. Officials are surprised by the low amount of fatalities. A fire alert did not reach all of the residents affected. According to Boulder County officials, emergency alerts were sent to around 24,000 people in the area. In total, around 35,000 people fled the area.
Possible Causes of Colorado Wildfire Still Being Considered
Officials are still trying to figure out what caused the fast, intense fire. The blaze happened after CO had been under drought conditions for months. The area hadn’t seen any good rainfall since the summer months. In fact, around 90% of Boulder County was under extreme drought conditions at the time of the wildfire. Extremely dry surroundings paired with 100+ mph winds led to a blaze that burned quickly and fiercely. This isn’t the first time that CO has had devastating wildfires because of a drought. In 2020, the state had three of its largest wildfires in state history because of dry conditions.
That being said, no stone is being left unturned in this investigation. Arson has even been considered. As of right now, officials are focused on a specific area in Boulder County, where one witness captured video of a shed that was ablaze the day the wildfire started. Many thought that the fire could’ve been started by power lines, which happens often in western states. There doesn’t seem to be any definitive answer at the moment, though.
Fire Investigation Will Take Time, and Everyone Is A Suspect
Authorities have also considered that the fire is linked to a local religious group called the Twelve Tribes. The video footage of the burning shed was taken near their compound in a rural area of the county. At least one warrant has been served in relation to the wildfire. We don’t know where the warrant was executed, though. It’s possible that it could’ve been for the Twelve Tribes compound, but that’s just speculation.
We won’t have answers anytime soon, either. The investigation will be thorough, so it’ll take a while to go over all of the evidence properly. This wildfire burned through more than 6,000 acres in CO, which is incredibly serious given how out-of-control fires can get out there. If it’s discovered that people took part in starting the fire, they’ll be sentenced accordingly. Until then, we wait for any updates.