Series Of Suspicious Wildfires Could Be Linked

By Rick Sallinger

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators are trying to determine if a string of fires in Jefferson County are related. All are believed to be caused by humans.

Task forces want to find out if an arsonist may be responsible for some or all of the fires.

March 9 was a hot windy day. Fires sprung up throughout the Denver metro area. The largest that day was the one on South Table Mountain near the Coors Brewery. There was a smaller blaze by Corwina Park outside Evergreen, and overnight there was a fire on the west side of the hog back in Ken Caryl Valley.

mcintyre fire 3 Series Of Suspicious Wildfires Could Be Linked

The fire near the Coors Brewery (credit: CBS)

Jay Jackson is a West Metro Fire assistant fire chief who was asked by CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger if the fires may be connected.

“At this point we’re not ruling anything out. We are looking at all the fires, investigating all the fires individually, and then looking at if they are put together, what that looks like,” Jackson replied.

Add to that the multiple fires that raced across Green Mountain. There were five in November followed by two more in one night last month.

green mountain fires 6pk465g Series Of Suspicious Wildfires Could Be Linked

A suspicious fire on Green Mountain (credit: CBS)

“Could any, or all of these, be work of an arsonist?” Sallinger asked Jackson.

“Right now the fires are determined to be human caused and we’re looking into all of those elements. We are looking for witnesses, we’re looking for leads,” he replied.

To say the fires have been difficult to investigate is an understatement. The points of origin have been covered up due to the shifting winds during the blazes.

There is a Green Mountain fire task force and another examining the March 9 blazes with overlapping investigators.

The mere thought that someone may be setting all the fires is cause for concern by those who live nearby, such as Cathy Mowry.

“It’s very worrisome. I know that there have been fires — very serious fires — set in the past,” Mowry said.

fire 23 Series Of Suspicious Wildfires Could Be Linked

A suspicious fire on Green Mountain (credit: CBS)

There is currently no evidence to indicate the fires are linked, but also nothing to rule that out.

Anyone who sees or has knowledge of anything suspicious is asked to contact West Metro Fire, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, or the Lakewood Police Department.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is also assisting in the Green Mountain fires investigation.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

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

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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