Amid embers, residents escape Colo. wildfire
BOULDER, Colo. — David Myers knew it was time to leave when he looked into the forest and spotted bright red flames towering skyward. Then came a blinding cloud of smoke and a deafening roar as the fire ripped through the wilderness.
“You can hear just this consumption of fuel, just crackling and burning. And the hardest thing is . . . you couldn’t see it because at the point the smoke was that thick,’’ he said.
Myers was among about 3,500 people who desperately fled the fire after it erupted in a tinder-dry canyon northwest of Boulder on Monday and swallowed up dozens of homes. Residents packed everything they could into their cars and sped down narrow, winding roads to safety, encountering a vicious firestorm that melted the bumper of one couple’s van.
Myers said yesterday that people told him they believed his house was destroyed. Authorities said they have counted at least 63 structures that have been lost based on a survey of half the area burned. It’s unclear how many were homes.
Governor Bill Ritter declared a state of emergency yesterday as officials nearly doubled the fire’s estimated size to more than 7,100 acres, or 11 square miles. At one point the plume from the fire could be seen in Wyoming, 90 miles to the north.
Authorities investigated reports that the fire started when a car crashed into a propane tank.