The fires, which began on Thursday morning from what officials believe may have been a downed power line, spread rapidly into the suburbs of Denver and Boulder as the day progressed. Regional droughts and high-speed wind that reached more than 100 miles per hour exacerbated the blazes.
Officials on Friday said that there are no reported deaths at this time, although an estimated 35,000 residents were displaced from their homes as they fled to safety.
“We might have our very own New Year’s miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a press conference.
Here’s a closer look at the damaging fires that have engulfed the state.
The flames first began to spread Thursday morning, intensified by high-speed winds that reached upwards of 100 miles per hour.
The intensity of the fire came suddenly and unexpectedly, officials said. “In the blink of an eye, many families having minutes, minutes to get whatever they could, their pets, their kids into the car and leave,” Gov. Polis said on Friday.
By late afternoon, flames had started to engulf suburban neighborhoods, demolishing homes in communities around Denver and Boulder.
The fires also wreaked havoc on several local businesses and companies.
The towns of Superior and Louisville were fully evacuated as the wildfires picked up strength.
An estimated 35,000 residents total fled their homes on Thursday and Friday.
Authorities on Friday said the blaze was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.
Officials estimated that between 500 and 1,000 homes were destroyed as a result of the fires.
Gov. Polis said a period of drought in the region had likely contributed to the spread to residential areas. “It wasn’t a wildfire in the forest, it was a suburban and urban fire,” he said on Friday.
Sheriff Joe Pelle of Boulder County said on Friday that he estimated that the fire has burned 6,000 acres across the state.
Though the cause has not yet been determined, officials said they believe the wildfires originated from a fallen power line.
Officials said a significant amount of the fire has been contained, and they expect snowfall forecasted for the region to help snuff out remaining blazes.
Smoke from the fires left eerie yellow smoke hovering in the air of the Colorado suburbs affected.
Some residents even tried to put out small scale blazes with water bottles.
The fires continued into the evening on Thursday night and into Friday morning.
An estimated 15,000 residents are currently without power across the state, according to outage trackers.
In response to Colorado’s request for federal support, the White House on Friday said that President Joe Biden would ensure “that every effort will be made to provide immediate help to people in the impacted communities.”
“The President is grateful to all of the first responders who have come to the aid of Colorado communities and families impacted by the fires,” The White House continued in its statement.