Colorado wildfires have been sweeping through the state, so far claiming two lives almost 500 homes. The most destructive of these, the 15,000 acre Black Forest wildfire outside Colorado Springs, is being considered a “crime scene” officials have said.
Firefighters and emergency forces finally gained the upper hand over the Black Forest fire Sunday, with a reported 65% containment. Despite this, officials are hesitant to announce when evacuated residents might be able to return to their hopes.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa made a statement this past weekend explaining why no such announcements had been made:
“I don’t want to get the cart ahead of the horse … We have a crime scene in there. We have fire in there; we have downed power lines in there. We have trees falling each time there’s a gust of wind.”
Local law enforcement have called in state and federal investigators including the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Two unidentified individuals have been found to be the only deadly victims of the massive Colorado wildfires so far. Sheriff Maketa explained that these were people who were likely attempting to retrieve property despite explicit evacuation requests.
Several incidents have been reported, including four claims of burglary. Two arrests have been made, one for obstruction and another of an individual posing as an emergency responder to gain access to evacuated areas.
Sheriff Maketa described several instances of people threatened with arrest following several people who requested deputy evacuation assistance then defied orders to evacuate.
As firefighters and emergency responders continue to gain ground over the Colorado wildfires, federal and state investigators will be gaining access to more evidence to determine whether the man-made Black Forest blaze was criminal or not.
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