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Hundreds of Colorado homes lost and tens of thousands of residents told to evacuate due to fast-growing wildfires

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Hundreds of homes have been lost after two wildfires started and grew quickly Thursday as high winds whipped through the Front Range in Colorado, forcing tens of thousands of residents from their homes, the Boulder County sheriff said.

Sheriff Joe Pelle estimated 580 homes or other structures in and around Superior may have been lost.
A shopping center and a hotel in Superior also were engulfed by the flames.
“Historic” 80-100 mph winds, with gusts in the state as high as 115 mph, fed the wildfires that injured at least six people, prompted a hospital to send patients elsewhere and forced the evacuation of Superior and Louisville near Boulder.
The Marshall Fire had burned at least 1,600 acres and had spread east across Superior and Louisville, the sheriff said. The other fire is known as the Middle Fork Fire, but Pelle said it was attacked quickly and “laid down.” Authorities were keeping an eye on it, the sheriff added.

Two homes burn in Louisville, Colorado, on Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of civilian casualties or missing people, Pelle said. One law enforcement officer suffered a minor eye injury from blowing debris.
“I’d like to emphasize that due to the magnitude of this fire, the intensity of this fire and its presence in such a heavily populated area, we would not be surprised if there are injuries or fatalities.”
The sheriff said any evacuees who have Covid-19 should go to a recovery center at the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Boulder.
Gov. Jared Polis, who declared a state of emergency for the area, said the flames were traveling the length of a football field in just seconds.

Firefighters battle a structure fire in Superior on Thursday.

 

“Very little time to get out, very little time to even get the most important parts of your life and, yes, it’ll be a difficult process for Colorado families who are directly affected to rebuild their lives,” he said.
Louisville and Superior are about 4 miles apart, not far from Boulder.
At least six people are being treated for injuries related to one of the fires, a spokesperson for UCHealth told CNN. Kelli Christensen said no more information was available for the patients, who are at UCHealth Broomfield Hospital.
Another hospital, Avista Adventist Hospital, was prompted to evacuate its patients and employees. The facility has 114 beds, according to its website. Authorities said hospital officials were more concerned about smoke than the flames that were only a few blocks from the facility.
“If you’re in the area, please act quickly,” the Boulder County Office of Emergency Management tweeted to Louisville residents.
The US Census Bureau says Louisville has about 21,000 residents and Superior has 13,000.
“We are in the midst of a truly historic windstorm across the front range, foothills and urban corridor,” the National Weather Service office in Boulder said Thursday afternoon.
Widespread wind gusts of 80-100 mph have been observed, the weather service said, and “a handful of sites in Rocky Flats have seen several hours worth of gusts 100-115 mph.”
Combined with relative humidity below 20% and ongoing drought conditions, the extreme winds were fueling rapid fire spread.
County residents were asked not to waste time if they see flames.
“Boulder OEM is getting many calls about residents seeing fire. IF YOU SEE FIRE, EVACUATE. Go east, go north, but leave immediately,” the office tweeted.
The hurricane-force wind gusts were attributed to “exceptional mountain wave amplification,” which is a major increase in wind speed as air flows over and down the mountains into the lower elevations that can occur under very specific atmospheric conditions.
Strong, sustained winds of 20 to 40 mph with gusts between 40 to 80 mph were still occurring across the Colorado foothills Thursday evening. A high-wind warning was extended across this region until 8 p.m. MST.
Winds should gradually weaken through the evening hours and should diminish by the morning, meteorologists said.
By morning, the region will experience “weather whiplash,” going “from fire to snow,” according to the weather service. An advancing cold front will push into the area and bring snow showers to foothills and front range by sunrise.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the region beginning at 5 a.m. MT Friday and calls for 5-10 inches of snow by Saturday. The combination of heavy snow and winds associated with the front and terrain will create treacherous travel conditions at time.
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PVC: Gov. Matawalle declares one-week public holiday

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The Governor of Zamfara State, Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle has declared next week Monday to Friday, (June 20th to 24th, 2022) as work free week to enable the State’s public and civil servants to go to their respective localities and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards, (PVC).
The Governor directed all the commissioners, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries, other public office holders, party officials and traditional rulers to monitor and supervise the ongoing Voter Registration exercise.

This was contained in a press statement signed and issued to newsmen in Gusau, the State capital by the State’s commissioner for information, Hon. Ibrahim Magaji Dosara.
According to the statement, every person above the age of 18 is expected to be part of the exercise, saying that it was their constitutional right to elect their leaders.

Governor Matawalle appealed to the general public to participate in the exercise so that they would not complain later.

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Taraba retirees protest against non-payment of gratuity

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The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) Taraba State Council has called on the state government to ensure prompt payment of all entitlements of its members as well as enrollment of all local government retirees in the state.
The state Chairman of the Union, Comrade Kefas Katan stated this at a World Press Conference held on Friday at the NUP Headquarters in Jalingo, the state capital.
He explained that the backlogs of gratuity for retired civil servants in the state are estimated at over N30billion.
The Chairman said the briefing was a replication of the one conducted on the 1st June 2022 in Abuja by the National President of the Union, Mazi Godwin.
Comrade Kefas Katan said retirees in Taraba State are facing numerous challenges due to the non-enrollment of many of its members into the scheme.
Reporting by Sani Suleiman; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare

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Buhari inaugurates council on e-Governance

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President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will continue to take advantage of digital technologies to transform every sector of the economy.

He stated this in Abuja while inaugurating the Presidential Council on Digital Economy and E-government.

The President tasked members of the council to work towards strengthening the capacity of government to develop, adopt and deploy digital technologies to make government more efficient and transparent, thereby improving Nigeria’s global standing in the ease of doing business index.

He noted that the council would provide the oversight needed to bring about a veritable structure for accelerating achievements in digital economy and in the implementation of e-government.

The President enjoined members of the Council to consider the task as a national assignment and justify the trust reposed in their ability to support and significantly enhance the digital transformation in the country.

He said the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS, in 2019, and expansion of the mandate of the Ministry of Communications to include Digital Economy had brought significant progress and a number of unprecedented achievements.

President Buhari expressed delight that the approval of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements for Federal Public Institutions had helped to formalize government online meetings.

He said Nigeria’s progress in e-governance had been noted by the international community, eliciting recognition from international stakeholders, including the appointment of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as the Chairman of the 2022 Forum of the highly regarded World Summit of the Information Society.

While congratulating the Minister, the President acknowledged that the Ministry had partnered with the Korea International Co-operation Agency to develop a National E-government Master Plan, approved by FEC in August 2019.

He listed benefits from the partnership to include training of over 1,400 Nigerian public servants in both Nigeria and South Korea on e-governance, the launch of an e-Government Training Centre, handed over to the Federal Government in 2019, and the signing-off of Phase II of the E-government Project for Building Foundations Towards Digital Governance in Nigeria, 2020-2026.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, had noted that the launch of NDEPS made provision for the establishment of the Presidential Council to co-ordinate the development of an indigenous digital economy.

He said the recent auction of spectrums by the Ministry, generated over 400 percent revenue to the Federal Government coffers, while two virtual institutions established by government had trained some 500,000 Nigerians on digital and emerging technologies.

The 27-man committee, chaired by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, on behalf of President Buhari, has Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Governors of Gombe, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Edo, Lagos, and Imo, as members.

Others are the Ministers of Finance, Industry, Trade and Investment, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Limited.

Others are Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, and the Director General, National Identity Management Commission.

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