FRANKTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – Fire investigators have learned exactly where last week’s Burning Tree wildfire started. The fire forced 8,500 people near Franktown to evacuate last Thursday afternoon.
Quick work by a chopper pilot and firefighters on the ground kept any structures from being lost. Investigators are confident they’ll soon determine what started the fire.
Investigators have been busy searching for clues.
“If you look at some of the scaring here, the back side of the tree, there’s going to be more of a burned area on this side of the tree as opposed to the back side of the tree,” Franktown Dep. Chief Dave Woodrick said.
Woodrick says everything points to dry grasses and pine needles as the point of origin. Investigators have ruled out two things. The fire was not caused by an electrical spark because there are no power lines. The fire also wasn’t caused by lightning.
“It’s going to be related to some kind of human activity,” Woodrick said.
The blaze quickly grew to 1,600 acres.
“We do have some witnesses in the area that saw people in the area, but it was hard to determine with the smoke if people were in the area as a result of starting the fire or actually helping to report the fire and identify the fire.”
As the clean-up from the fire continues, the investigation into the cause is being conducted jointly by Franktown, South Metro Fire and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
“Even if it is determined to be accidental, charges still could be filed.”
No matches, fireworks, or accelerants were found at the scene. So the focus is on conducting interviews with the goal of pinning down who’s responsible.
The flames did damage one structure before firefighters put it out.