CU assistant coach loses ‘everything’ in wildfires

Mark Smith, the inside linebackers coach for the Colorado Buffaloes, said he and his family lost “every material possession” in the wildfires that have burned hundreds of homes and businesses outside Denver since Thursday morning.

“Just got word that every material possession we had today is now gone,” Smith posted to Twitter on Thursday night. “Our home, cars, and everything we had in our home lost to the fires that ripped through our community. Thank you to those who reached out. Processing how to completely start over and grateful for our health.”

Smith just completed his first season with the Buffaloes under head coach Karl Dorrell. He previously served as defensive backs coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks before he was hired as the defensive coordinator at Long Island University in July 2020, but that fall season was not played because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tens of thousands of residents were driven from their neighborhoods by wind-whipped wildfires in Colorado. As of Friday morning, an estimated 580 homes, a hotel and a shopping center had gone up in flames.

The towns of Louisville and Superior, situated about 20 miles northwest of Denver and home to a combined 34,000 people, were ordered evacuated ahead of the fires. The area is between Denver and Boulder, home to the University of Colorado.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who gave the early damage estimate, said there could be more injuries — and also deaths — because of the intensity of the fires, propelled by winds that gusted up to 105 mph.

“This is the kind of fire we can’t fight head-on,” Pelle said. “We actually had deputy sheriffs and firefighters in areas that had to pull out because they just got overrun.”

Ninety percent of Boulder County is in severe or extreme drought, and it hasn’t seen substantial rainfall since mid-summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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