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Devastation Widespread After Wildfires Burn Through Portions of Colorado

Marshall Fire photos

An area of Boulder County, Colorado, where fire swept through on Dec. 30, 2021. Photo by Diane Johnson

On December 30, 2021, the Marshall Fire tore through portions of Colorado, reportedly burning up to 1,000 homes and structures. Sunrise brought to light the full extent of the damage throughout Superior and Louisville, Colorado, after firefighters fought to contain the blaze in Boulder County. It also confirmed the fears of some families that their house was gone, while others tried to get information any way possible on their property.

As of Dec. 31, Boulder Adventist Church and Twin Peaks Adventist Church have accounted for all their members. Unfortunately, a Boulder church family lost their home in the fire. Others discovered their house, against all odds, survived.

“Survival was literally a matter of minutes and inches. The winds were so fierce and the smoke so thick that one wrong turn could have been deadly. I don’t use the word often, but it will truly be miraculous if the final tally shows no fatalities,” commented Mark Johnson, Boulder Adventist Church member.

At a Dec. 31 morning press conference, Governor Polis said Avista Adventist Hospital would be out of commission for days or weeks.

Avista Adventist Hospital CEO Isaac Sendros told ABC’s Good Morning America, “I’ve never experienced anything like this. Every neighborhood around us was in flames.”

Later in the afternoon, Sendros sent an email to hospital employees and partners explaining the situation. “There is ash and soot in many parts of the building. Our re-opening will require continued assessment and extensive collaboration with public authorities and utilities in the coming days and weeks to ensure safety for you and our patients.” He went on to explain that the fire came within four feet of the large oxygen tanks the hospital uses.

Boulder County Sheriff said at the press conference that the fire had grown to 6,000 acres and estimated that around 1,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed.

Emergency shelters remain open for families needing a place to stay. The Campion Academy gym, in Loveland, also remains available; however, as of Dec. 31, the shelter remained empty.

Pastors and ministry leaders from the community assembled at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette on Dec. 31 afternoon to encourage, pray, and discuss what their churches can do to help the community recover.

Area churches are partnering with Avista Adventist Hospital to collect goods to help employees who have been displaced by the fire.

Avista Adventist Hospital was spared, but the burn scar shows the fire came just four feet from the oxygen tanks.

Avista Adventist Hospital was spared, but the burn scar shows the Marshall Fire came just four feet from the oxygen tanks. Photo provided by Avista Adventist Hospital

Boulder County Sheriff at the press conference encouraged all wishing to volunteer to visit https://www.coloradoresponds.org/ to discover ways to help. If you wish to donate to Adventist Community Services disaster response, please use the AdventistGiving app and mark the online tithe envelope ACSDR.

North American Division Adventist Community Services (NAD ACS) reported that it has been in communication with the Rocky Mountain Conference ACS leadership, Colorado Emergency Management, and Colorado VOAD, to determine how the ACS DR teams will be utilized to render assistance to the communities in Boulder.

 — RMCNews, with additional reporting from the NAD Office of Communication; photos by Diane Johnson and Avista Adventist Hospital. This article originally appeared on the Rocky Mountain Conference website.

CLICK HERE to read this special, related commentary on the possible after-effects of a traumatic experience such as Colorado's Marshall Fire.