Task force probes series of Green Mountain fires

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Fire investigators on Thursday said they believe Monday night's Green Mountain wildfire was intentionally set. The blaze, which could be seen from Denver, was the latest in a series of fires on the Jefferson County mountain.

Hundreds of people were evacuated Monday night as flames threatened their large homes in Lakewood at the base of Green Mountain. No one was hurt and no homes were lost, but there's concern that another fire could be set again.

Homeowners gathered Thursday night at a church in Lakewood, worried another fire, combined with dry conditions and tall grass, could present their community with a new nightmare.

"I didn't realize the grass was that high on the mountain," one neighbor said. "It was just waiting for somebody to do something."

Lakewood's mayor and the West Metro Fire Rescue chief attended the meeting. They used the opportunity to ask for the public's help while assuring residents that investigators are working hard tracking down leads.

Over the past month, five suspicious fires burned parts of Green Mountain. The latest one was by far the largest, covering nearly 100 acres.

"It does take demands on the fire department," West Metro Fire-Rescue Marshal Bruce Kral said.

Experts from a multiagency task force, which includes the ATF, are on the case. Lakewood police have stepped up patrols since Monday around the base of the mountain.

"There's a lot of ground to cover and certainly they don't patrol in the open space part," Kral said.

More than 150 firefighters fought the fire Monday night.

Anyone with information is asked to call 303-987-7111.