Several agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, are involved in investigating the origin and cause of the fire. The investigation could take several weeks to complete, but they don’t believe it was set on purpose.
“While it is very early in the investigation, there is no indication or reason to believe this was intentional,” the city’s release read.
Firefighters who responded to the fire around 12:15 p.m. found the fire already “out of control” and approaching structures, officials said at a news conference Wednesday night.
Multiple agencies responded as firefighters “struggled at times” to work the blaze. Nearly 100 homes were evacuated and about 15 were destroyed.
Officials said a perimeter was established around the evacuation zone overnight for law enforcement to keep bystanders out and allow fire personnel to continue to work the hot zones.
Initial damage assessment of the burned structures is being conducted by the Rio Grande County Assessor’s office Thursday and the perimeter will remain in place until it is completed.
The city said six families have been displaced but no missing persons or injuries were reported. The city and Rio Grande County are working to bring state and federal funding assistance to those affected by having it declared a disaster area.
The Rio Grande County Department of Social Services and the San Luis Valley Victim Response Unit are assisting those displaced and a Disaster Assistance Center will open at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Ski Hi Complex.
One family told FOX31 they did not have insurance for their home that was destroyed in the fire and are asking for help to recover.