Feb 1, 2022 - News

The spark that ignited the Marshall Fire remains a mystery

Burnt out vehicles sit amidst the remains of a Louisville neighborhood in the aftermath of the Marshall Fire. Photo: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Burnt out vehicles sit amidst the remains of a Louisville neighborhood in the aftermath of the Marshall Fire. Photo: Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

A month after the deadly and devastating Marshall Fire, Boulder County residents are left wondering what sparked the firestorm.

The latest: The initial investigation is nearing an end, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office said Monday, but few details are available about the cause of the fire.

  • The next phase will take weeks or months as experts analyze evidence.
  • Once complete, the district attorney will determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
  • The sheriff's office says it won't release any more information until then.

What to watch: Two potential causes remain the focus of the investigation.

  • Authorities executed a search warrant on the property of a Christian sect known as Twelve Tribes after reports emerged of a controlled fire on the property days earlier and another the morning of the Marshall Fire.
  • Investigators also are looking at whether underground coal mines on the Marshall Mesa dating back to 1863 would have provided the heat to ignite the fire.

Flashback: The wind-fueled fire started Dec. 30 and quickly consumed entire neighborhoods, destroying more than 1,000 homes and killing two people.

  • The initial cause was reported by officials as downed power lines, but that was later recanted.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.

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