Dec. 31 (UPI) — A disaster declaration will be called in Colorado where a winter weather storm on Friday may help put out a devastating wildfire that is already being called the worst in state history.
Five to 10 inches of snow is expected in northern Colorado from Friday to Saturday, a significant swing in the weather after a rare winter wildfire in Boulder County consumed 1,600 acres and destroyed thousands of homes within hours starting Thursday.
More than 30,000 people were evacuated as the fire — fueled by near-record winds and dry land — engulfed homes, apartment buildings and businesses alike. Gov. Jared Polis issued a state of emergency for the region Thursday.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis met with President Joe Biden following the fires, describing the impacts of the fire and the need for additional support from the government, according to a White House release.
The president approved the expedited major disaster declaration and said that it would be finalized within hours. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working with officials at the scene.
Signs that the fire was abating came late Thursday when the Bloomfield Police Department lifted all of its mandatory evacuation orders and pre-evacuation orders.
“Residents who were evacuated can now return home,” Bloomfield Police said in a Twitter post just before midnight. “Those on pre-evacuation no longer need to standby.”
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said downed power lines appear to have been the cause of the rapidly moving fire. Some 15,000 people, all in Boulder County remained without power early Friday.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management, though, told residents it ordered to evacuate to stay put as of Friday morning.
“We know that you are concerned about your home/belongings,” the office said in a tweet Friday. “We will notify you about re-entering your homes as soon as we can.”
Emergency officials were expected to give an update on the progress of the fire and conditions later Friday.