Authorities not ruling out arson in Colorado wildfire

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Authorities in Boulder County, Colorado, have not ruled out arson as a possible cause of the wildfire that destroyed thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

Police told Fox 31 Denver that they are investigating all possible causes of last week’s fire, saying that if arson or human negligence were to blame that the people responsible would be held accountable.

Homes burn as wildfires rip through a development Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, in Superior, Colorado.
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A total of 991 structures were destroyed by the fire across Superior, Louisville and unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado, according to a preliminary report the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office released Saturday. Another 127 structures were damaged by the fire, which covered more than 6,000 acres as historically high winds helped fuel and spread the devastating blaze.

A Christmas tree remains lit as fires rage in the background on Dec. 30, 2021, in Louisville, Colorado.
(Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

While the fire was the most destructive in the state’s history, no fatalities were reported as a result of the disaster as of Saturday, though authorities did say three people are still missing. 

Deputies with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on a property Saturday to investigate whether the fire could have been started by humans.

“We are actively investigating a number of tips that came in yesterday and last night from the community,” Sheriff Joe Pelle told NBC 9 Saturday. “One of those tips has resulted in us executing a search warrant on a property.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Sunday that the FBI would be assisting in the investigation of the blaze.

“Gov. Jared Polis confirms the FBI is helping investigate the cause of the fire,” reported Colorado Public Radio’s Allison Sherry on Twitter Sunday.

A home burns after a fast-moving wildfire swept through the area in the Centennial Heights neighborhood on Dec. 30, 2021, of Louisville, Colorado.
(Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Pelle also noted that the day the fire started was a “red flag day,” meaning people were not allowed to start fires.

“We’re looking into the cause and origin of the fire. If it turns out to be arson or reckless behavior with fire, we’ll take appropriate actions,” said Pelle. “It was a red flag day the day of the fire, so there shouldn’t have been any burning.”

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