Peak 2 Fire was human-caused; investigators announce search for two people seen near fire's origin

DILLON, Colo. — Humans caused the fire that burned not far from towns like Breckenridge in Summit County, causing concern and evacuations, investigators said Tuesday.

Authorities say they're looking for two people who were seen hiking on the Colorado Trail above Miners Creek Road junction at about 11 a.m. on July 5. 

"After fire conditions moderated and it was safe to enter the area, fire investigators examined the point of origin and determined the Peak 2 Fire was human-caused," Dillon District Ranger Kevin Warner said. 

Firefighters say they have combated the fire to the point that it is 85 percent contained, and they will likely let the fire peter out on its own from this point due to the dangers of the perimeter where it is not yet contained. 

But resources have so far cost about $2.1 million, officials said Tuesday.

The fire began on July 5, prompting the evacuation of a nearby town that wasn't lifted until the weekend. Although it only burned 84 acres, the proximity to towns caused concern and brought in more than 400 firefighters and the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team. 

That team and many of the firefighters are disbanding now that the fire is under control, but efforts by police and rangers to investigate and determine who started the fire are only just beginning.

Police say anybody who has information that will help identify the two people who were seen near the fire is asked to call police at (970) 262-3486. 

"This information is important in helping us determine the cause of the Peak 2 Fire," Warner said. "We appreciate any information the public can provide about these individuals." 

And residents forced to evacuate aren't happy that the fire was caused by people.

"Being evacuated with three kids and two dogs is not easy," said Maghan Niemkiewicz, a resident of the Peak 7 neighborhood that was evacuated. "Not knowing if your house is going to be there when you get home--the first day, we weren't really sure when we were leaving what was happening."

She said it was "frustrating" that people caused the fire.

"It makes me angry that somebody could've been irresponsible," she said. "Luckily there was no loss of life, no injuries that I'm aware of, nobody lost their homes. But it's very frustrating when people don't respect the forest."

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