Michelle Singletary, Colorado, Npr News discussed on Morning Edition


Way Also parenting advice financial advice from Michelle Singletary and how to call out bullying and racism on social media as a good Samaritan bystander The Brian lair show at 10 a.m. on WNYC It's morning edition from NPR news I'm Steve inskeep And I'm Sarah mccammon Colorado is entering the new year under a state of emergency The state's governor made that declaration after wildfires fanned by gusts of wind tore through suburbs northwest of Denver Those winds reached more than 100 mph tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and at least 580 homes are gone Colorado public radio Sam brash has been out covering the fires and joins us now Good morning Sam Good morning Can you just start by telling us where you've been and give us a sense of what you've been seeing over these past 24 hours or so You bet I think the most shocking part here is just the setting This is not forest and mountain towns It is in suburbs Those wins you mentioned drove these rapid grass fires through superior and Louisville a couple of towns north of Denver And these are normal neighborhoods with more than 20,000 people Think houses and apartments and strip malls Authorities completely evacuated both towns with gridlock the main routes out I watched people drive through parking lots and over bike paths even to get out And when the fire did arrived it burned down entire cul de sacs not to mention a target and a hotel And so many people are still unsure about what happened to their homes I met Ana Kashmir at an emergency seltzer just as she received a video from a neighbor showing part of her neighborhood in flames That's my house I know exactly that's my house And it's still and it's still good I have no idea what's going on right now because maybe it's from a couple of hours Ago She's a Russian immigrant and before she evacuated she managed to grab just a pair of clothes and her naturalization papers And Sam what is known about how these fires might have started So boulder county sheriff Joe peli confirmed that the high winds knock down many power lines in the area early evidence suggests that those may have sparked the fires and they took off amid high winds and these super dry conditions were seeing in Colorado Authorities claim the blaze consumed the length of entire football fields in seconds as it advanced over grasslands and through these towns And we've talked about just widespread damage in the Denver area people forced from their homes tens of thousands of people What about injuries or fatalities Sam It's not very clear right now A spokesman at a hospital in the area told a 6 people were taken for treatment related to the fires that were not sure what kind of injuries they have And we've heard from a different hospital in the area that they evacuated patients starting with those in critical care Yesterday sheriff pilly said that he wouldn't be surprised if there were more injuries or fatalities given how quickly the fire spread emergency officials are hoping to make a better damage assessment as soon as things calm down You know wildfire in the west is something we think about a lot and hear about a lot in the warmer months but I think when people think of Colorado in December I know I think of snow over those mountaintops Wildfire sounds out of place this time of year is it It absolutely is It's been an exceptionally dry winter in Colorado And in recent years we've seen the fire season become a year round event All of Colorado is currently in a moderate drought or worse and more than two thirds of the state is in a severe drought especially in the populated areas east of the mountains where these fires are happening We've barely seen any snow at all this year which is extremely extremely uncommon and all that dry weather and high winds have made these winter wildfires more likely in Colorado and that's a pattern likely to become more frequent due to climate change It's Colorado public radio Sam brash reporting from Denver Sam thanks for your reporting Thank.

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