Boulder Fourmile Canyon fire update: DA Stan Garnett decides against criminal charges

The Fourmile Canyon fire near Boulder was extraordinarily destructive -- yet the volunteer firefighter whose fire pit likely launched the initial spark will not be charged with a crime. That's the decision of Boulder DA Stan Garnett, who feels he couldn't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Get details in the DA's office release below:


The District Attorney for the 20th Judicial District, Stan Garnett, has declined at this time to file criminal charges in the Four Mile Canyon fire. After careful review of extensive reports from the Boulder County Sherriff's office, consultation with Sherriff's investigators, and a thorough tour of the fire scene, the District Attorney has decided that no criminal charges will be filed against any person based on the information now available about the cause and origin of the Labor Day Four Mile Canyon fire.

The standard of review for filing criminal charges is whether the District Attorney reasonably believes that each element of a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of twelve. In this case, the applicable charge would be 4th degree arson. The considered opinion of this Office is that this charge could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, based on the available evidence.

Further fire reports are expected at some point from the United States Forest Service, which also participated in the fire suppression effort and conducted its own investigation. It is not expected that these reports will provide significantly different evidence than that which has already been presented, but they will be carefully analyzed by the District Attorney's Office, along with any other new information that may become available, to determine if a different conclusion regarding charges is warranted.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office will be releasing the preliminary report.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts