Human remains found near suspected origin of Colorado wildfire

Investigators have found partial human remains in an area near the suspected origin of the destructive デンバーのアメリカ人研究者 blaze that broke out last Thursday.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Boulder county sheriff’s office said investigators located partial human remains of an adult in the Marshall area south of Boulder.

Authorities are conducting a separate search for a person reported missing in the hard-hit community of Superior.

The late-season wildfire pushed by hurricane-force winds tore through two densely populated Denver suburbs, consuming nearly 1,000 homes and becoming the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.

The fast-moving blaze forced 35,000 to flee their homes but so far only two people are missing. It’s a remarkably low number of possible casualties, according to disaster experts and authorities, all the more so because a public alert system did not reach everyone and the wintertime blaze caught many people off-guard.

Several factors broke in favor of the evacuees: the blaze came during daylight and over the holidays when many were at home in mostly affluent neighborhoods where most residents have easy access to vehicles and could flee because the region has an extensive road network.

It also might have helped that the area has seasoned emergency management personnel who have worked other recent wildfires, major floods in 2013 and a supermarket mass shooting last March.

“In terms of the big picture it’s a really miraculous evacuation,” said Thomas Cova, a University of Utah professor who researches emergency management and wildfire evacuations. “So close to populated areas … spot fires everywhere and 100mph winds – I think it’s incredible that’s there’s only two people missing.”

Officials have not said exactly how many people were contacted through the emergency system, which sends a recorded alert or text to phones. The alert undoubtedly saved lives, but some residents affected by the fire complained in the aftermath that they never received it.

Neil Noble, who fled his Louisville home on Thursday, said the first he heard of the fire was from a FedEx delivery driver who knocked on his door to drop off a package. After setting out for an errand and seeing gridlocked traffic as the smoke plume grew, he decided to leave with his three teenage children.

“I’ve talked to dozens of people, even those whose houses burned down, and nobody seems to have received any kind of notification," 彼は言った.

But while the emergency notification system didn’t reach everyone, Boulder-area residents have seen enough fires along the Front Range communities at the foot of the Rocky Mountains to react quickly when smoke appears on the horizon, 彼女は言いました.

Sharpening that awareness of danger is a growing understanding that climate change is making wildfires worse even as subdivisions creep deeper into fire-prone areas.
“I think one of the shifts that is going to follow this fire is that people are going to start thinking, ‘Am I at risk? I thought I was safe, living in a suburban area,”’ she said. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing to question that. Anything that can help people to get more prepared for the hazards we face is a good thing.”