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Waldo Canyon fire update: Nearly out and investigators find the origin

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More good news in the efforts to contain the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs: Investigators think they have found the origin of the devastating fire that's blazed for nearly two weeks. And at 95 percent containment, the situation seems to be nearing some kind of conclusion -- just days after the High Park fire and the Flagstaff fire were completely contained.

The Colorado Springs Gazette is reporting that investigators have zeroed in on the spot where the Waldo Canyon fire first ignited, launching the state's most destructive fire. According to the federal InciWeb site dedicated to the event, the fire is at 18,247 acres and has thirteen crews working on it. The Gazette reports that the crew has identified the fire's point of origin and that investigators are now mapping the area, searching for clues for the fire cause, which is still under investigation.

No information has been released on exactly where the fire started. We checked in this morning with officials at the fire, who confirmed that investigators have in fact located the point of origin -- but are not publicly releasing that location as the investigation continues. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The Denver Post reports that the fire seems to have started just off of a Waldo Canyon hiking trail west of Colorado Springs, based on dispatch recordings of conversations between firefighters.

To date, according to the InciWeb site, 346 homes have been lost and several neighborhoods have been engulfed. The evacuations peaked on June 27 at 32,000.

The fire claimed the lives of an elderly couple, and news broke yesterday that the body of a Waldo Canyon fire evacuee who was from Colorado Springs was found in Chatfield Reservoir.

As we reported yesterday, rains are expected this weekend -- and with rain comes the threat of flash flooding, which may be the next challenge for crews in Colorado Springs.

More from our News archive: "Waldo Canyon fire update: 90 percent contained, rains expected tomorrow"

Read our past coverage of the Waldo Canyon fire.

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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