Wildfire (stock photo)

A massive wildfire is burning west of Boulder, Colorado, destroying homes and displacing thousands. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter has declared a state of emergency. 

70 subdivisions, more than 3,500 people, have been evacuated, according to Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle. 

In areas that authorities can safely survey, they have deemed 54 homes destroyed by the blaze. Only  5% to 10% of the area has been surveyed so far.  Authorities expect the number of homes destroyed by the wildfire to increase over time as more areas become safe to enter. 

When it comes to people, there are currently 8 missing, out of an original list of 20 missing persons. Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Commander Rick Brough said that most of those were people who opted not to evacuate. 

Authorities were able to get a better idea of how large the fire is through an infrared flight. The size of the blaze is down from 7,100 acres to 6,168 acres, according to Laura McConnell, who’s with the Boulder County Incident Management Team. 

There are currently 200 firefighters, 24 engines, and several aircraft being utilized to fight the enormous wildfire. 

Authorities are reminding people that it is necessary to be patient throughout this process. They told evacuees that those battling the wildfire are doing everything in their power to contain the blaze. Returning to homes isn’t safe at this time because small fires continue to erupt in random spots due to burning embers. 

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