Larimer County Sheriff's Office investigators have determined the Woodland Heights Fire in Estes Park was most likely caused by an electrical service line rubbing against a pine tree during turbulent winds.
The electric line was on private property on Larkspur Drive.
The Woodland Heights Fire burned 27 acres. A total of 22 homes and 2 outbuildings were destroyed in Saturday's fire.
Investigators do not believe the fire to be criminal in nature or the result of a criminal act.
Residents were allowed to return to the evacuation area at noon Monday.
The 2012 fire season is already the state's worst in a decade. In late March, the Lower North Fork Fire, 25 miles southwest of Denver, killed three people and damaged or destroyed more than two dozen homes. That fire was the result of a prescribed burn that grew out of control after it was set by the State Forest Service.
The weather offered little hope of short-term relief.
A heat wave sent temperatures soaring above 100 degrees in many places Monday. A red flag warning for high fire danger was in effect across most of the state.
Tidwell said Colorado's fire season is about a month early.
"It's just because it's so dry," he said. "Not unlike New Mexico -- they saw very low snowpack, especially in that lower country. Hot, dry winds with dry fuels, you get the ignition and this is what we see."
The state has banned open campfires and private fireworks. The federal Bureau of Land Management banned campfires and outdoor smoking and imposed other fire restrictions on its land in 21 counties covering most of eastern Colorado.
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