Two missing after Colorado begins to count the cost of wildfires finally tamed by snow

Search teams search for two missing people in the smoldering rubble of a massive Colorado forest fire, while people who escaped the flames search the charred remains of their homes.

Investigators were still trying to find out what resulted in flames breaking through at least 9.4 square miles and destroying nearly 1,000 homes and other buildings in the suburbs between Denver and Boulder.

The inferno broke out unusually late on Thursday after an extremely dry autumn and an almost snow-free winter.

Experts say these conditions, along with high winds, helped the fire spread.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle says authorities are following a series of leads and issued a search warrant in “a certain location.”

The sheriff on Sunday refused to provide details, including whether he thought the fire was arson.

“It’s complicated and everything is covered with half a meter of snow,” said Mr Pelle of the place where the fire broke out.

“The outcome of this investigation is critical – there is so much at stake. We become professional. We’ll be careful. “

Rex and Barba Hickman ransacked the ashes of their Louisville home with their son and wife.

Her son Austin used a grinding tool to cut open a safe to reveal gold and silver coins, melted credit cards, keys, and the charred remains of the couple’s passports.

They evacuated with their dog, iPads, and clothes on their backs. Rex Hickman said he was heartbroken when he saw that there was nothing left of her 23-year-old home.

He said, “There is a numbness that hits you first. You know, like going into crisis mode. You think about what you can and cannot do.

“The real pain will subside in time.”

While in some places houses that were burned to the ground were still glowing, the fire was no longer considered an immediate threat – especially when there was snow and icy temperatures on Saturday.

Authorities initially said everyone was held accountable after the fire. However, Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said the reports of three missing people were discovered later amid the scramble to deal with the emergency.

One was found alive, officials said on Sunday.

The crews were still looking for a woman in a Superior house and a man who lived near Marshall.

Other investigators saw if the missing people might have made it but didn’t contact their families or friends, Pelle said.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis and federal emergency officers visited some of the damaged neighborhoods Sunday morning.

Mr. Polis said, “I know this is a difficult time in your life when you have lost everything, or you don’t even know what you have lost.

“A few days ago you celebrated Christmas at home and hung up your stockings and now your home and hearth are destroyed.”

Of at least 991 buildings destroyed by the fire, most were residential buildings. But the fire also burned through eight stores in a Louisville mall, including a nail salon and a subway restaurant.

In neighboring Superior, 12 stores were damaged, including a Target, Chuck E Cheese, a Tesla dealer, a hotel and the town hall.

The two cities are about 20 miles northwest of Denver and have a combined population of 34,000.

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