Colorado residents are calling it a "miracle" that no loss of life has been reported after two wildfires quickly spread across Boulder County Thursday.
More than 30,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes in a matter of moments as flames overwhelmed Louisville, Superior, and several neighboring towns 20 miles northwest of Denver.
"We might have our very own New Year's miracle on our hands if it holds up that there was no loss of life," said Democrat Gov. Jared Polis.
Months of drought and exceptionally warm weather triggered the wildfires, as strong winds fanned the flames, engulfing over 1,500 acres of land in a matter of hours.
— US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) December 31, 2021
An estimated 500 homes and buildings were destroyed in what is likely to be the most destructive wildfire in Colorado's history, The Weather Channel reports.
So far, only a few injuries have been reported but Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle says the severity of the fires may lead to more serious injuries or deaths.
President Joe Biden on Friday declared a major disaster in the area, allowing the state to access federal disaster funds.
"In the blink of an eye," Gov. Polis said Friday at a news conference, "many families having minutes, minutes to get whatever they could, their pets, their kids into the car and leave."
The fires in Colorado are apocalyptic. Please say a prayer. Superior Colorado has basically burned to the ground. They are saying this is the worst fire in Colorado history. Over 609 structures gone. Praying through Mother Cabrini who is a great intercessor against fire pic.twitter.com/YhoNvNySMq
— Alexis Walkenstein (@walkenstein) December 31, 2021
The wildfires came unusually late in the year as the state experienced one of the warmest December's on record.
Only 1.08 inches of precipitation fell in Denver from July through the end of December, just 15 percent of the average.
#Denver has managed a measly 0.19 inch of precip (rain/melted snow) since Oct. 1, and only 1.08 inches since July 1.
Least on record for July 1 - Dec. 29 period. Average: 7.03 inches.
Last time the official reporting site had at least 1/2 inch in a day was May 30. pic.twitter.com/udDH1Nhm6V
— Jonathan Erdman (@wxjerdman) December 30, 2021
Despite the damage caused by the blaze, locals are focused on recovery efforts and rebuilding their town ... grateful that the aftermath wasn't worse.
"It's unbelievable when you look at the devastation that we don't have a list of 100 missing persons," noted Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
University of Colorado assistant football coach, Mark Smith tweeted that his family lost everything, but they are blessed to still be alive.
"Just got word that every material possession we had today is now gone," he wrote. "Our home, cars, and everything we had in our home lost to the fires that ripped through our community. Thank you to those who reached out. Processing how to completely start over and grateful for our health."
Just got word that every material possession we had today is now gone. Our home, cars, and everything we had in our home lost to the fires that ripped through our community. Thank you to those who reached out. Processing how to completely start over and grateful for our health.
— Mark Smith (@coachmarksmith) December 31, 2021
Please pray that God will lift up and encourage those affected by the wildfires as relief efforts continue.