At least two people are missing after a wildfire tore through several Colorado towns and quickly destroyed entire neighborhoods.
Colorado authorities are searching for two people reported missing from a wind-whipped winter-season wildfire in Denver's suburbs that has destroyed hundreds of homes and left thousands of people trying to salvage what belongings they could from the fast-moving blaze.
"We do believe we have two people missing and we are investigating," Boulder County Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said on Saturday. There is no additional information as to the whereabouts of the two, she said.
Until now, no deaths have been reported in the major year-end fire.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said on Friday it is a "miracle" that the fire had not taken a big human toll, given its ferocity and rapid spread.
At least 500 homes, and possibly far more, are thought to have been destroyed as the blaze raced through the town of Superior on Thursday, just outside the state's biggest city Denver, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee with little notice.
‘Disaster in fast motion’
Shocking aerial footage showed whole streets as little more than piles of smoking ash, destruction that appeared almost total but somehow left a few homes oddly untouched.
"This was a disaster in fast motion... over the course of half a day. Many families had minutes to get whatever they could — their pets, their kids — into the car and leave," Governor Jared Polis said, "just as in the blink of an eye."
Downed power lines are believed to have sparked grass fires in the tinder-dry landscape that were then fanned by winds gusting at more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) an hour on Thursday.
At least 33,000 people in Superior and nearby Louisville were told to flee, many doing so with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Pelle told a press conference on Friday that he had seen areas of utter destruction, while other areas had been spared.
"We won't have final numbers until late tonight or tomorrow, but we are fully expecting this to be 500 or more homes that were lost," he said.
"I would not be surprised if it's 1,000."