2020s East Troublesome fire: Investigators say blaze human caused

The East Troublesome fire, the second largest wildfire in the state’s recorded history, was human caused, investigators said on Friday.

The fire, which started on Oct. 14, 2020, scorched 193,812 acres, about 302 square miles, in Grand County, hopping the Continental Divide and charring areas in Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park and on the edge of Estes Park.

“Based on evidence gathered at the fire’s origin, investigators have determined the fire to be human caused,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

The USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations, along with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, continue an ongoing investigation in to the fire.

“Given the location and time of year that the fire started, it may have been caused by a hunter or a backcountry camper, and possibly by accident,” the release said. “Investigators from both agencies are working to identify the person or persons responsible for starting the fire.”

More than 300 homes and between 100 and 200 secondary structures, such as barns and garages, were destroyed by the wildfire. Lyle and Marylin Hileman, 86 and 84, respectively, died in the fire when their home, just outside Grand Lake, was destroyed. The fire was fully contained on Dec. 1, 2020.

The largest wildfire in Colorado, in terms of acres burned, is the Cameron Peak fire. It burned 208,913 acres in 2020 in Larimer and Jackson counties, Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest,  Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding communities.

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