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Public’s Help Sought On Waldo Canyon Fire Cause

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Officials during the news conference on Wednesday (credit: CBS)

Officials during the news conference on Wednesday (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – Investigators said Wednesday they still don’t know who started the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history or whether it was started intentionally or accidentally.

Police have received almost 375 tips about the Waldo Canyon Fire that exploded June 23, but Colorado Springs police Lt. Adrian Vasquez said in an update to reporters Wednesday that investigators still need people to come forward if they think they have information on how the fire started.

“One of the things that I think is very important today that we relay to our community is that we do need assistance still,” Vasquez said. “Somebody out there knows very specifically how this fire started, whether it was accidental or intentional.”

Investigators have determined the blaze started within three miles of the Waldo Canyon trailhead off U.S. 24, but Vasquez wouldn’t get more specific.

“Since we don’t know whether this is accidental or intentional, I cannot say whether charges would be appropriate or not; or what level of charges would be appropriate.” El Paso District Attorney Dan May said. “That’s just something they’re still developing in the investigation.”

The public started reporting smoke in the area June 22, when fire restrictions were in effect, but officials couldn’t find the source before the wildfire exploded the next day. It went on to damage or destroy 359 homes and kill two people.

VIDEO: Watch Entire News Conference

Investigators had previously said they believe the fire was caused by a human but haven’t identified any “persons of interest.” They didn’t release much more information Wednesday, saying they had to keep some information confidential to protect the ongoing investigation.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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