Indian Gulch fire near Golden: Human-caused, investigation underway (VIDEOS)

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Update: With the end of the Indian Gulch fire near Golden finally in sight, officials can move on to the next step -- figuring out how it started. And while the folks at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office aren't sharing any specifics about theories, they've concluded that it was human-caused.

Here's the JCSO release on that subject, followed by loads of previous coverage:

Jeffco Sheriff opening tipline for Indian Gulch Fire

Jefferson County Sheriff's investigators are seeking assistance from the public regarding the Indian Gulch Fire. The fire appears to have started along Indian Gulch north of Hwy 6. Investigators have ruled out all other viable ignition sources and have determined that the fire was human caused.

Sheriff's investigators are urging citizens to contact the tipline at 303-271-5612 to provide information regarding unusual activity or suspicious persons in the area between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 20th. The area of concern is Hwy 6 between tunnel 1 and Hwy 58, or Golden Gate Canyon Rd. between Mount Galbraith Park and Hwy 93.

Update, 7:18 a.m. March 25: At last, firefighters battling the Indian Gulch fire near Golden appear to have the upper hand on the blaze. The most recent estimate: 77 percent containment of a conflagration that's consumed around 1,700 acres, with crews confident enough of control that they sent three aircraft to help attack the Burning Tree fire near Franktown.

Below, see a series of photos taken on Highway 6 yesterday afternoon, followed by the latest release from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and some newly posted videos. Then page down to chronicle a week's worth of Indian Gulch coverage.

1 indian fire image highway 6.jpg
Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

2 indian fire image highway 6.jpg
Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

3 indian fire image highway 6.jpg
Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

4 indian fire image highway 6.jpg
Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

Jefferson County Sheriff's Office release, 6:12 p.m.:

Indian Gulch Fire Update:

The Indian Gulch Fire is 77% contained, and has burned 1,700 acres.

On Thursday, fire crews had great success on the north side of the fire, closest to Golden Gate Canyon Road.

Fire crews will remain on duty overnight, monitoring the fire. Ground and air resources will begin to de-mobilize starting Friday, depending on fire behavior. No water or retardant was dropped on the fire today, although aircraft were supervising and observing ground operations.

Roadways:

On Friday, crews will be doing more work along Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon. Fire and law enforcement officials will work with CDOT Friday morning to reassess the safety of the roadway. Highway 6 will remain closed overnight tonight.

Golden Gate Canyon Road remains closed to non-local traffic between Catamount and Crawford Gulch. Golden Gate Canyon Road is open to all canyon area residents between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Between 7 p.m. and midnight, local traffic will require a deputy escort to travel through the canyon.

Beginning at midnight tonight, Golden Gate Canyon Road will be opened completely to all traffic. Deputies will be conducting extra patrols in the canyon throughout the night. The road will stay open Friday barring unexpected fire activity.

Other Fire Information:

The Type 1 IMT will likely be released mid-day on Saturday, at which time control of fire operations will return to local officials.

Residents of the Mountain Ridge subdivision in the city of Golden were released from their evacuation standby order around 5:30 on Thursday via an e911 phone call.

Late Thursday afternoon, incident commanders sent one helicopter and two SEATs to Douglas County to help with the fast-growing fire burning there.


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