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Sheriff says investigators are close to determining cause of Black Forest Fire

Sheriff says investigators are close to determining cause of

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The El Paso County Sheriff said investigators are narrowing in on who started the Black Forest Fire and how they did it.

Sheriff Terry Maketa said he is close to revealing the cause of the fire. Maketa said new tips and information have surfaced after KRDO NewsChannel 13's investigation into Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey's initial handling of the Black Forest Fire.

"With the attention this has drawn lately, we have come up with some new information and some more witnesses and we are making progress -- progress I am really satisfied with," said Maketa.

It's been months since Colorado's most destructive wildfire was extinguished but the question of who and how June's wildfire started still burns in Black Forest.

"We aren't just sitting and waiting for evidence to happen or someone to walk in. We are actively working it," said Maketa.

A fire progression map released by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office shows the fire burned in a section of Black Forest northwest of the intersections of Shoup and Milam Roads. However, investigators will not say exactly where they believe the fire started.

Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey said the fire was intentionally set. KRDO NewsChannel 13 asked Harvey for more information about his findings after breaking the story in November. He said at that time he would not comment.

Investigators with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office looked over Harvey's findings recently, hoping for new insight.

"There is nothing that even rises to the level of really any degree of credibility," said Maketa.  "It's opinions and based on some observations from a person who was really too close and who really didn't realize what he was dealing with."

Investigators say it was caused by a person, but have not determined if it was intentionally or accidentally set.

"We have brought in several experts to independently review this scene. Not just our case, but review the scene and give us their opinions based on their expertise as to where and how the fire started," said Maketa.

Maketa said he won't make an announcement about the cause until investigators have exhausted every possible lead.

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