Calwood Fire investigation completed, no cause determined

Posted at 8:04 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 22:04:19-05

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — The Boulder County Sheriff's Office completed their investigation into the Calwood Fire and could not determine the cause.

The first report for the Calwood Fire came in on Oct. 17, 2020 at 12:06 p.m. The report of smoke coming from the vicinity of the Cal-Wood Education Center off County Road 97 in Jamestown was confirmed to be a one acre wildfire.

Dry and windy conditions caused the fire to grow quickly, nearly 1,000 acres per hour, leading to early evacuations of homes as far as Hygiene. Video showed people driving through flames to help friends escape the growing wildfire.

The Calwood Fire burned 10,113 acres, and 26 structures were lost or damaged. The fire reached 100% containment by Nov. 14, 2020.

A second wildfire was reported outside of Ward on Oct. 18, just one day after the Calwood Fire began. It became known as the Lefthand Canyon Fire. It was 100% contained within less than a week on Oct. 22, 2020 at 460 acres. No structures were lost from the Lefthand Canyon Fire.

Investigators do not believe the Lefthand Canyon Fire and the Calwood Fire were related.

Between the two fires, the estimated cost of resources is $6.6 million, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. No one died in either fire.

In total, 4,925 contacts were sent evacuation orders, 4,773 contacts were sent evacuation warnings and 967 animals were sheltered. Approximately 1,800 people were sheltered in eight different hotels in coordination with the American Red Cross, including evacuees from surrounding wildfires.

Investigators used physical evidence, took in community tips and interviewed several people to nail down a 500-foot radius of where the fire started, but could not make an official cause determination.

The Lefthand Canyon Fire is still under investigation by U.S. Forest Service investigators.