Frantic video of families fleeing fast food outlet as wildfire nears
Families were forced to flee a fast food restaurant in the US state of Colorado as a wildfire tore through the area.
In footage captured and shared online, parents with young children are seen leaving the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in Superior, in Boulder County, and running to their cars as thick, dark grey smoke surrounds the outlet, with the wildfire fast approaching.
Panicked parents usher their children towards the door to get to their cars.
Some children in the video are heard saying, "I'm scared", with a woman trying to open the door as the wind blows it shut.
The wildfire erupted on Thursday morning (local time) in and around Louisville and Superior, towns about 32 kilometres northwest of Denver, with a combined population of 34,000.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared a state of emergency on Thursday afternoon as flames were exacerbated by strong winds that reached up to 177km/h.
Tens of thousands of people were ordered to evacuate as the flames swept over drought-stricken neighbourhoods.
500 homes destroyed in Colorado wildfire
Seven wildfires broke out on Thursday (local time) in the Boulder area driven by strong winds gusting over 80 km/h, Wildfire Today reported.
At least seven people were injured in the blaze, the Associated Press reported, which is said to be the worst in Colorado's history, but no immediate reports of any deaths or anyone missing in the aftermath of the blaze outside Denver have been reported.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle predicted more than 500 homes were probably destroyed.
He and the governor said as many as 1000 homes might have been lost, but that won’t be known until crews can assess the damage.
A truly horrific sight. All the homes in this portion of Coal Creek Ranch in Louisville were destroyed in the #MarshallFire. Such devastating loss for so many poor people. #Louisville #superior #wildfires #colorado #winter @denverpost pic.twitter.com/dUBi23XfGI
— Helen H. Richardson (@hrichardson) December 31, 2021
In a press conference on Friday, Colorado governor Jared Polis said it was a "miracle" there had been no deaths or missing persons reported.
"We might have our very own New Year's miracle on our hands, if it holds up that there was no loss of life," he said.
Despite the devastating damage to homes in the area, the sheriff said it's "unbelievable" there wasn't a list of "100 missing persons".
"I’m hoping that’s a miracle," he added.
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The sheriff said some communities were reduced to just “smoking holes in the ground", urging residents to wait for the all-clear to go back because of the danger of fire and fallen power lines.
Ninety per cent of Boulder County is in severe or extreme drought, with no significant rainfall since mid-summer.
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