Wild­fire blamed on camp­fire

In­ves­ti­ga­tors think blaze west of Boul­der started in il­le­gal tran­sient camp.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Tom McGhee

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.

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