US: Firefighter threatened with assault rifle as efforts continue in Colorado brush fire recovery

A 24-year-old man has been arrested

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Police confirmed on Sunday that a Colorado firefighter had been threatened with an assault rifle as crews continued to battle remnants of the Marshall Fire, which has destroyed almost a thousand homes.

Louisville Police Chief David Hayes confirmed reports that a 24-year-old man had been arrested in the incident and that authorities had recovered other weapons from him.

Meanwhile, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said that one of three missing persons had been found "alive and well." He said the search continued for the remaining two missing people. Pelle added that the hope was to also find them alive but added that police were also searching the debris of their homes for human remains.

Pelle declined to give details into the investigation on the source of the fire. He called it "an open and active investigation."

A general view of burnt down houses in a neighbourhood in Superior, Boulder County, Colorado
A general view of burnt down houses in a neighbourhood in Superior, Boulder County, Colorado

The so called "Marshall Fire" was driven by wind gusts of 105 miles per hour, which caused flames to leapfrog over highways and entire neighbourhoods on Thursday, authorities said. The winds created a "mosaic" burn pattern that saw untouched homes standing next to those left in ashes. The blaze swept through about 6,000 acres in just a couple of hours and destroyed over 900 homes. Six people were treated for injuries on Thursday and the blaze is largely contained, with just a few smouldering points.

US search teams are looking for two missing people in the snow-covered but still smouldering debris from a massive Colorado wildfire.

It came unusually late in the year following an extremely dry autumn and a winter nearly devoid of snow. Experts say those conditions, along with high winds, helped the fire spread.