‘Sunshine Fire west of Boulder sparked by campfire at apparent transient camp’


By Max R. Weller

Read the latest report in the Daily Camera here. Copied below in its entirety:

Boulder County Sheriff’s Office investigators believe that the cause of the 74-acre Sunshine Fire west of Boulder was a campfire on Boulder open space.

Investigators say that evidence at the fire’s point of origin near the Centennial Trailhead indicated the blaze was started by a campfire in what appeared to be a transient camp, according to a release.

According to the release, the fire was surrounded by rocks in a “hastily fashioned ad hoc campfire ring of sorts.” Investigators found moisture and kicked up dirt, which led them to believe an attempt was made to extinguish the campfire at one point in time.

A firefighting airplane drops retardant on the Sunshine Fire west of Boulder on Sunday. Both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were used to battle the

A firefighting airplane drops retardant on the Sunshine Fire west of Boulder on Sunday. Both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft were used to battle the wildfire. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

There are no suspects at this time, and the fire remains under investigation.

The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $725,000.

Several neighbors indicated campfires and transient camps had become a frequent sight in the area.

The city of Boulder prohibits camping and campfires on all city open space land, and violations can result in a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. Boulder County is also currently under a fire ban for areas west of Broadway.

The two [transients from Alabama] accused of starting the Cold Springs Fire in 2016 by not properly extinguishing a campfire were also charged with arson and sentenced to work release.

The fire was first reported at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday by a man who said he saw flames near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Lane.

The fire prompted mandatory evacuations for 426 homes and pre-evacuation notices for another 836 homes before crews were able to reach full containment on the fire Monday afternoon. No structures were damaged.

The cost of fighting the fire has been estimated at $725,000.

Anyone with information in the investigation of the Sunshine Fire should contact Boulder County sheriff’s Detective Jason Shatek at 303-441-3641. Those who wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or nococrimestoppers.com/ (Emphasis is mine — MRW)


Rumors about the identities of possible suspects have been passed around by some homeless people in Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, and we can hope that solid leads will be passed on to investigators.

Let me address the major problem here — Boulder City Council members sitting on their hands as the nonprofits in our local homeless shelter / services industry WELCOME transients to our city, far beyond what resources here can provide for. It’s Boulder County’s own homeless men, women, and children who are getting shortchanged as Travelers grab all of the Free Stuff they can, then repay Boulder, CO’s kindness by burning down the countryside (whether by accident or on purpose doesn’t matter at this point).

How many times has the Homeless Philosopher acted as a voice crying in the wilderness, pleading for the commonsense approach of requiring valid photo ID showing a Boulder County address and proof of at least one year’s residency for anyone seeking shelter / services from any nonprofit in our city?

What can Council members do? Summon Greg Harms of Boulder Shelter, Isabel McDevitt of Bridge House / Community Table, Nancy Brinks of Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow, and all the other players who are negligently endangering the public safety and hurting the quality of life here to a public meeting — then make it clear that the city itself intends to become much more engaged in addressing homelessness, including cutting off all taxpayer funding to those nonprofits who fail to get on board.

In addition, provide bus tickets on RTD bound for Denver and sack lunches to-go for any transient who either requests them or is caught by police committing any petty offense (Smoking in Prohibited Area, Drinking from Open Container, Smoking Marijuana in Public, Illegal Camping, Trespassing, etc.) and would prefer to leave town rather than appear in court.

Boulder City Council no longer has any excuse for NOT taking action — the transients and their apologists / enablers have proven themselves unworthy to retain the public trust!

(This post e-mailed to Boulder City Council.)


3 thoughts on “‘Sunshine Fire west of Boulder sparked by campfire at apparent transient camp’

  1. Ruth Stewart

    The residents in those areas should be reporting any fire and/or smoke that they see or smell. I bet they are NOT doing that, because Boulder is so liberal that everybody gets a pass for just about anything anyone does….I’m embarrassed to say I was born and raised there, but back in the day, Boulder was a really cool town…no homeless that I ever saw. (I hope you’re doing well, Max!)


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