A Colorado official says nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed, hundreds more were damaged, and that three people are missing after a wildfire charred numerous neighborhoods in a suburban area at the base of the Rocky Mountains northwest of Denver. Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle also said Saturday that investigators are still trying to find the cause of the blaze that erupted Thursday.

Officials had previously estimated that at least 500 homes — and possibly 1,000 — were destroyed. They also announced earlier Saturday that two people were missing. The wind-whipped wildfire blackened entire neighborhoods in the area between Denver and Boulder.

Authorities had said earlier no one was missing. But Boulder County spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said Saturday that was due to confusion inherent when agencies are scrambling to manage an emergency.

Pelle said officials were organizing cadaver teams to search for the missing in the Superior area and in unincorporated Boulder County. The task is complicated by debris from destroyed structures, covered by 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow dumped by a storm overnight, he said.

At least 991 homes were destroyed, Pelle said: 553 in Louisville, 332 in Superior and 106 in unincorporated parts of the county. Hundreds more were damaged. Pelle cautioned that the tally is not final.

Source: AP News