BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A drone that crashed and ignited started the Table Mountain Fire in Boulder County. On Wednesday, fire crews rushed to put out a grass fire burning near the 5000 block of Nelson Road that forced people to evacuate.
Boulder County Sheriff’s Office investigators said three researchers with the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Aerospace Engineering Department were at the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone with a drone on Wednesday afternoon. While flying the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or drone, to conduct weather studies, it crashed.
During the crash, the lithium ion battery cell dislodged and ignited. The crew used an on-site fire extinguisher but were unable to get the grass fire contained before it quickly spread due to high winds.
The crew remained on-scene and fully cooperated with investigators. The investigation shows that the researchers were flying within regulations and within the flying capability of the craft.
No criminal charges will be filed due to the accidental nature of the incident.
The wildfire was extinguished and evacuation orders were lifted after 5 p.m. Wednesday, the fire did burn more than 50 acres of grassland.