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Black Forest Fire investigators focus on 40x40' area

5:33 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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EL PASO COUNTY - The El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says fire investigators have narrowed the area where they suspect the Black Forest Fire started to a 40-by 40-foot piece of land.

9Wants to Know was the first to report last week that investigators think the area of origin is near Shoup Road and Falcon Drive.

"It's not just like looking for a needle in a haystack, it's like looking for the eye of a needle in a haystack," Maketa said. "I feel like we are making progress in the investigation."

Read more about how investigators search for the cause.

The county brought in a fire expert from the U.S. Forest Service to investigate. She arrived Monday evening and started work Tuesday morning, Maketa said. She wanted take a fresh look at the area before she was briefed by local investigators.

Maketa repeated what he told 9Wants to Know investigator Jace Larson on Monday, no cause of the fire has been ruled out. Earlier reports had suggested lightning was not a cause.

Any available investigative resource will be used, if necessary, to find the cause, Maketa told 9Wants to Know. Five to six investigators are working to find the cause at any given time.

Maketa said he's hopeful that a cause will be identified.

"There is no guarantee," he said. "The hope is that we get one shred of evidence that becomes important."

TIPLINE CALLS IMPORTANT

Calls continue to come into the county tipline each day.

"Pictures from the beginning of the fire are the most important. They are very helpful," he said.

Residents can email tips and pictures to blackforestfiretipline@elpasoco.com. The tipline phone number is 719-444-8393.

"We have received some good info and some dead leads," he said. Maketa urged everyone with information to call.

IDENTITIES OF THOSE KILLED

Maketa said investigators and the coroner have not positively identified the two people found dead after the fire. He has not said where their bodies were found.

Read more about circumstances surrounding the two people found dead.

Their bodies were badly damaged, investigators have said.

The temperature in the fire was estimated at 2,500 degrees, Maketa said.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson? Call him at 303-871-1432 or e-mail him
jace.larson@9news.com

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