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April 21, 2022

Media Contact

Public Information Unit, 303-441-1500

Table Mountain Fire cause and origin investigation

Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County Sheriff’s Office investigators have concluded the investigation into the cause and origin of the Table Mountain Fire, which occurred yesterday, April 20, 2022.

On April 20, three researches associated with the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Aerospace Engineering Department were at the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone utilizing an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), commonly referred to as a drone, to conduct severe weather studies.

While they were flying the fixed wing aircraft, it crashed at a high rate of speed into the ground causing a lithium ion battery cell to dislodge and ignite. The crew used an on-site fire extinguisher, but were unable to get the grass fire stopped before it began to quickly spread due to the high winds.

The crew remained on-scene and fully cooperated with investigators. They were flying within regulations and within the flying capability of the craft. No criminal charges will be filed due to the accidental nature of the incident.

The previous press release on the Table Mountain Fire can be found on our website:

The associated Boulder County Sheriff’s Office case number is: 22-1740.


/s/ Carrie Haverfield, Public Information Specialist