Site where Waldo Canyon Fire started focus of intense criminal investigation
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — More than six weeks after the state’s most devastating wildfire in terms of number of homes lost, investigators say they know where the Waldo Canyon Fire started.
The thing is, they’re still trying to figure out how it started.
Investigators refuse to say if they suspect arson. FOX31 Denver’s Justin Joseph spoke with one member of the investigation team on Wednesday.
The Three Mile Trail into Waldo Canyon is now closed, but it has been the focus of an intense criminal investigation.
Investigators believe the point of origin of the wildfire that killed an elderly couple and destroyed hundreds of homes is along the trail.
“Arson cases cases are difficult to investigate,” says El Paso County District Attorney Dan May. He’s part of the team investigating whether the fire was intentionally set.
“I’m very pleased with all the resources that are going into it, but they’re tough cases. They’re just working lead after lead after lead after lead,” he says.
May won’t say where those leads are taking the investigation, only that he hopes to have answers within weeks.
“Quite frankly we are waiting for the Forest Service to make their conclusions. Some of that is based on scientific testing that is being done.”
Dan may and members of his task force took a tour of the point of origin of the Waldo Canyon Fire just this past week.
There are stairs that are the only way into the area. A surveillance video camera is pointed at the stairs, so there’s a good chance the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office saw something since deputies there monitor the camera.
“It’s a very eerie experience to be in there,” May says. “There’s black soot sort of everywhere.”
It’s the same feeling people who live in the Mountain Shadows subdivision of Colorado Springs have as they walk by the debris that was once homes on a number of blocks. “Kind of looks like a war zone,” says Terry Jahelka.
“A lot of us would like to know if it was arson…but at this point, it doesn’t change anything…and a whole lot of families have lost everything,” she says.
They’re clearly looking forward to the answers Dan May and his team come up with.