Colorado fire destroys hundreds of structures: Live updates – CNN

January 15, 2022
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By Fernando Alfonso III and Jessie Yeung, CNN
Our live coverage has ended. Read the latest here.

Rep. Joe Neguse, of Colorado’s 2nd congressional district, said on Thursday he had evacuated with his family as a precaution and hoped expected snow tomorrow would provide some relief from the wildfires.
Neguse said state representatives were in close contact with the governor, law enforcement, and first responders.
He added that record-breaking winds, which pushed the fires into residential communities, would hopefully begin to die down in the evening — and be further tamped down by the expected snow forecast for Friday. “We’re just hoping that will commence soon to give our firefighters and our first responders some relief as they work to try to protect our communities,” he said.
The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center for wildfire evacuees at the YMCA of Northern Colorado in Lafayette, Boulder County, the aid organization tweeted Thursday night.
In a separate post, it said residents in the area should protect themselves from wildfire smoke by staying in a room closed off from the outside air, using a portable air cleaner or filter if available, and to avoid lighting gas stoves, candles or fireplaces.

From CNN’s Raja Razek

There are 53,500 customers without power in the state of Colorado, according to poweroutage.us. 
In Boulder County alone, there are 18,791 customers in the dark. 
 
From CNN’s Raja Razek
Out of an abundance of caution due to the fires, a Boulder County hospital in Colorado said it has started ​transferring some of its most critical and fragile patients, including those in labor and delivery, and intensive care.
According to the release, patients are being transferred to other SCL Health facilities ” in case the Boulder grass fires cause a need for additional shifts.”
From CNN’s Haley Brink
Strong, sustained winds of 20 to 40 mph, with gusts between 40 to 80 mph, are still occurring across the Colorado foothills Thursday evening.
A high wind warning was extended across this region until 8 p.m. MT (10 p.m. ET). The strongest wind gusts peaked at 115 mph earlier today, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. MT (12 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET).
Overall winds should gradually weaken through the evening hours and should diminish by the morning.
From CNN’s Haley Brink

Several Colorado monitoring stations across Jefferson, Boulder, and Larimer counties recorded preliminary hurricane-force wind gusts (74 mph and higher).
Some wind gusts exceeded 100 mph Thursday afternoon.
Here is a list of the top reported wind gusts:
 
From CNN’s Raja Razek
Centura’s Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, Colorado, is fully evacuated and all patients have been transferred to sister facilities, according to a news release from Centura Health. 
“Patients should not attempt to go to Avista Adventist Hospital; nearby roads have been closed,” the release added. 
Avista Adventist Hospital is in Louisville, Colorado, and is part of the Centura Health system. 
The hospital is a 114-bed full-service hospital, according to its website. 
From CNN’s Brandon Miller

A short period of extreme winds occurred along the Colorado foothills with “winds nothing short of howling,” according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.
“Exceptional mountain wave amplification,” referring to a major increase in windspeed as air flows over and down the mountains into the lower elevations in and around Boulder that can occur under very specific atmospheric conditions, was blamed for the hurricane-force wind gusts reported.
Widespread wind gusts of 80-100 mph were observed, the NWS said.
Combined with relative humidity below 20%, the extreme winds fueled the rapid fire spread, including into urban areas of Superior and Louisville.
By sunset, the winds should diminish even further, the NWS said.
From CNN’s Raja Razek

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency due to the grass fires in Boulder County, according to a news release from the governor’s office. 
“Today, Governor Polis declared a state of emergency due to grass fires created by high winds across the Front Range,” the release said. 
“The declaration allows the state to access disaster emergency funds to support the emergency response efforts in Boulder and provide state resources including the use of the Colorado National Guard, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and activation of the State Emergency Operations Center,” the release added. 
 
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