Report Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Colo. Wildfire

CONIFER, Colo. -- The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday said it has concluded its investigation on the cause and origin of the Lower North Fork Fire and has determined that the Colorado State Forest Service followed or exceeded the parameters set by the burn plan, and that no criminal violation occurred.

The sheriff?s office said it worked in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Interior -- Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- and the U.S. Forest Service.

This investigation is separate from the prescribed fire review conducted through Gov. John Hickenlooper's office.

"The reports confirm previous assumptions that a prescribed burn conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service caused the fire. Based on the review of all available documents and witness interviews, it was determined that the CSFS followed or exceeded the parameters set by the Lower North Fork burn plan, and that no criminal violation of the Colorado Revised Statutes occurred," the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said.

However, a report by the governor's office, released on Monday, showed that the state forest service violated its own burn plan by not patrolling the controlled burn on Sunday -- the day before the controlled burn blew up into the Lower North Fork Fire.

Jefferson County residents living in the area will get a chance to voice their concerns with the sheriff and county commissioners. The fire is one of many items on the agenda at a town hall meeting which begins at 6:30 p.m. at West Jefferson Middle School.

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