The Marshall fire tore through unincorporated Boulder County, Superior and Louisville the morning of Dec. 30, 2021, and was fanned by winds that gusted up to 110 miles per hour in an area which was under extreme drought. The fire, which ignited in a rural residential area southeast of the city of Boulder, killed two people, torched more than 6,000 acres and destroyed 1,156 homes and businesses.
In a news release likely designed to get ahead of what are sure to be countless media and citizen inquiries, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office explained that the cause of the fire remains under investigation and that the Boulder District Attorney’s office is involved with the inquiry.
The release listed 10 possible causes of the mega-fire including debris burning, underground coal mine fires, children playing with matches, fireworks, and the potential of an equipment malfunction or spark.
Early last year, neighbors said they saw a religious group burning trash in an unfenced area close to where the fire started. One man filmed the fire jump to a nearby shed which caught fire.
In addition, Gazette partner 9News first reported that the Marshall fire may have started due to subsurface flames along coal seams which have been slowly burning for decades. There was also talk that downed power lines may have added to the fire’s origin, but Xcel Energy denied it was any of its lines.
Boulder sheriff’s deputies are poring over evidence with the Boulder County District Attorney’s office with the goal of a “full and complete investigation.”
The investigation includes 200 tips, 260 body-worn camera recordings and 186 pieces of evidence including drone footage and photos taken by witnesses and investigators, according to the release.
Some of the body-worn camera footage was released for public viewing by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office officials Thursday.
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