Colorado wildfire destroys hundreds of homes

Thousands of people forced to flee flames driven by gale-force winds

Emergency personnel vehicles are stationed on a closed road leading to a neighbourhood engulfed in flames in the town of Superior in Boulder County, Colorado. AFP

A fierce, wind-driven wildfire has destroyed hundreds of homes in and around two towns in the US state of Colorado, authorities have said.

The swiftly spreading prairie grass fire is believed to have been ignited by sparks from power lines and transformers toppled by high winds on Colorado’s drought-hit Front Range, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said.

Evacuation orders were issued on Thursday for all residents in the town of Superior, with a population of about 13,000, and a short time later for the adjacent municipality of Louisville, home to more than 18,000 residents, the Boulder County emergency management office said on Twitter.

Within hours, the blaze had swept an estimated 650 hectares and destroyed hundreds of homes, Mr Pelle told reporters.

He said 370 homes went up in flames west of Superior, and that 210 dwellings were lost in the Old Town area of Superior, along with additional residences in the area. Property losses included a shopping centre and hotel in Superior, officials said.

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