Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have begun serving meals and assisting families impacted by a massive wildfire in Boulder County that destroyed hundreds of homes.
CBDR said preparations to deploy a feeding unit began as the Marshall Fire raced through the cities of Louisville and Superior and the unincorporated community of Marshall, all located southwest of the city of Boulder and northeast of Denver.
The fire began on Dec. 30 and within 24 hours engulfed 6,200 acres. Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed, with more than 100 more damaged, according to Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle.
Officials are investigating the source of the fire, but an unusually dry fall and winter coupled with winds that at times exceeded 100 mph fueled its rapid spread. The winds were so strong, there was little firefighters could do but evacuate homes and businesses in the fires’ paths.
Justin McKay, a church planter and pastor of The Local Church in nearby Arvada, lives about 20 minutes from the hardest hit area. McKay said his family was prepared to evacuate if the fire spread further south.
“Praise God we didn’t have to,” McKay told The Alabama Baptist.
‘Smell of houses burning’
“I saw the smoke billowing from my back yard but I also smelled it,” McKay said. “The smell in the air didn’t smell like traditional wildfires — more like chemicals. It was the smell of houses burning rather than trees. It was pretty sad.”
Burning embers spread by the fierce winds ignited multiple fires, McKay said.
“You could see a pocket of fire here and then an empty space,” he said, recalling what he could see from a distance. As the fires burned, McKay said, “ash was falling like snow.”
As Colorado Baptists respond to the needs of those left homeless by the fires, McKay, a native of Hoover, said Alabama Baptists can help by praying. “That’s something we can literally do wherever we are.
“Pray for local churches who are helping. Pray for local officials to work together. And pray for the hope of Christ to reach these hurting people right where they are.
“This is the most receptive people [in this area] might be to Jesus,” he said. “Pray that they will be receptive and that local churches will be able to meet their needs in word and deed in this season.”
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