Wildfire blamed on campfire
Investigators think blaze west of Boulder started in illegal transient camp.
A campfire near the Centennial Trailhead west of Boulder likely caused the Sunshine fire Sunday that forced the evacuation of more than 426 people from their homes, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
Investigators have identified no suspects, but said the point of origin is in what appeared to be a transient camp on Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks property.
“Investigators noted that the fire’s point of origin was among a number of medium and largesized rocks,” according to a sheriff’s office news release. “The rocks appeared to have been placed into a hastily fashioned, ad hoc campfire ring.”
Investigators also found a small amount of moisture, and noticed that dirt had been kicked on top of the fire, suggesting that someone attempted to extinguish the campfire.
The fire began early Sunday morning, and was 100 percent contained by Monday evening. Mop-up operations continued Tuesday. The cost to fight the fire through Monday is estimated at $725,000.
Sheriff ’s detectives are investigating the fire as a fourth-degree arson, as well as a violation of the county’s fire restrictions, which were in effect at the time the fire started.
Several neighbors indicated campfires and transient camps had become a frequent sight in the area near where the fire was first reported near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Lane.
Camping and campfires are prohibited on all of Boulder’s open space and mountain park system.