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December 15, 2022

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Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Investigation update on the Marshall Fire

Boulder County, Colo. - The Marshall Fire has had a devastating impact on thousands of members of our community. With the December 30 one-year mark approaching, we wanted to provide an update to our community members.

The investigation into the cause and origin of the Marshall Fire is ongoing and active. The investigative team is working collaboratively with a variety of experts and members of state and federal agencies. The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is committed to reaching the right result through a full and complete investigation. As part of this commitment, the Sheriff’s Office will be working with the District Attorney’s Office to review all the findings. Currently, investigators and members of the District Attorney’s Office are reviewing significant amounts of documents, photos, and videos in consultation with these individuals.

Investigators have followed up on more than 200 tips associated with the incident. This number does not include interviews of the first responders who responded to the initial report of the fire as well as the review of photos and videos maintained by the Sheriff’s Office and other first responders.

Sheriff’s Office employees involved in the initial response to the fire and subsequent investigation captured 266 body worn camera recordings and 450 photos were captured using body worn camera photo evidence system. In addition to this, the Sheriff’s Office has collected 186 items of evidence. This includes 49 physical items and 137 pieces of digital evidence such as drone footage used to document the scene and photographs taken by witnesses and investigators. Each digital evidence “item” could be a single photograph or video, or a series of 200 photos and videos captured as part of the investigation. Each item, photograph, or video has been reviewed multiple times as part of the investigation.

In every fire investigation, the investigators are required to review the following for potential causes:

  • Lightning
  • Equipment use such as mechanical failure of a vehicle or equipment usage without a spark arrestor
  • Smoking or cigarettes thrown from a vehicle
  • Campfires in the area
  • Debris burning
  • The use of fireworks
  • Children playing with matches
  • Potential underground coal mine fires
  • Electrical supply infrastructure
  • And other possible sources such as welding, grinding, and target shooting

The Sheriff’s Office is sharing this list to help illustrate the possible sources of a fire, not to indicate that any of these sources caused the Marshall Fire. Several of the possible causes on the list were eliminated early in the investigation.

Today, the Sheriff’s Office is releasing 60 additional body worn camera videos from the Marshall Fire. All footage that was captured on December 30, 2021, east of Cherryvale Road is now available and can be found at: www.boco.org/MarshallFireDocumentsofInterest, under the video tab. The footage captured west of Cherryvale Road will not be released until the final cause and origin are released.

The Sheriff’s Office plans to complete the investigation in the near future, likely early in the new year. After the final investigation and review is completed, the Sheriff’s Office will release the cause and origin report. The Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office are committed to sharing all the findings with the community. We understand the importance of this investigation and we appreciate the community’s patience and support.