A series of videos authorities released Thursday offers dramatic and terrifying snapshots of the government’s response as the most destructive blaze in Colorado history moved rapidly across the region.
In one body camera video, a Boulder County sheriff’s deputy strides through a Costco, ordering a throng of customers to leave their carts and evacuate immediately.
In another, a deputy drives down a smoke-choked street, parking just past a home fully engulfed in flames. The deputy, part of a door-to-door evacuation effort, rings a doorbell and then races back to his truck.
The Marshall Fire’s orange glow towers above the deputy’s cruiser in a third video, shot at night.
In another, a deputy helps a woman evacuate her two cats and dog. “Thank you so much,” she says as they drive away. “I don’t know how to drive.”
The wind-driven fire ignited Dec. 30 southeast of Boulder after record-low precipitation levels — part of a drought magnified by climate change — left the region primed for a rare winter blaze.
Propelled by gusts that topped 100 mph, the blaze tore through "football field-lengths of land in seconds," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle told reporters the day the fire broke out.
The fire consumed nearly 10 square miles and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, including 991 homes. One person died, and another person remains unaccounted for.
The cause of the fire has not yet been identified.