FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Multiple Wildfires Possibly Intentionally Set in Broad Canyon Area
-- Multi-agency Response in Montrose and San Miguel Counties
Contact: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer 970-729-2028
June 22, 2017 -- (San Miguel County, CO) –
Montrose County Sheriff’s Office issued a “BOLO” (Be On the Look –Out) for a “Person of Interest,” a heavy-set white male in his forties to fifties seen driving a late-model, two-tone Chevy Suburban with a silver stripe on the side. The individual was reported seen driving in the area of the fires, Highway 141, mile markers 50-53 in the Montrose/San Miguel county line area, traveling in an unknown direction.
The largest of the fires was in San Miguel County and was the last to be contained at around noon. It spread moderately-aggressively and spanned approximately 2.5-3 acres. The four other fires spanned around ¼ acre in size, spreading in sage, juniper and brush, and were contained over the course of the morning. Deputies and firefighters faced weather issues, including changing winds, and communication obstacles being in the remote area.
There were no injuries, no evacuations required, and no structures damaged. Most, if not all of the fires, were on public land.
San Miguel County Undersheriff Eric Berg said, “We were fortunate to contain these fires quickly preventing an even greater loss, primarily thanks to the swift response from multiple agencies.”
The multi-agency response included Norwood Fire, Egnar FIre, Nucla-Naturita Fire, Paradox Fire, Montrose County Road and Bridge, Federal Wildland Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service, and San Miguel and Montrose County Deputies. Nucla EMS responded and Placerville Fire was placed on standby but stood down.
San Miguel County Sheriff Dispatchers received a 911 call at approximately 830 this morning from a party reporting several fires on the side of Highway 141 mile markers 51-53. There were reports of possible suspicious activity involving the person of interest noted earlier.
If anyone sees the individual or vehicle described, please contact your local law enforcement or dial 911.
Undersherrif Berg emphasized it’s possible that these fires were not intentionally set. “It’s a lot more common to see fires in our county that are accidental or naturally caused, so we are looking into all possibilities.”
San Miguel County Sheriff’s Deputies are working with Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and BLM Wildfire on the investigation.
The San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, located in Telluride, Colorado and established in 1883, serves 7,800 residents and countless visitors across the 1,288 square miles of San Miguel County. Sheriff Bill Masters has been serving as the county’s elected Sheriff since 1980.