Devastating Colorado Wildfires—Hot Summer Months Ahead

Early June’s Bluebell Fire in Evergreen, Colorado and now the Black Forest wildfire in El Paso County are sending a clear message: we are in the thick of wildfire season. Extreme fire conditions remain constant with extended weather forecasts calling for hot temps, low humidity, and high winds throughout the summer months ahead. Jeff Berino, Senior Wildfire Investigator with Pie Consulting & Engineering reports “The next four weeks are going to be critical concerning the potential for wildfire”. Mr. Berino has assisted with hundreds of investigations and provided consulting on wildfires throughout the U.S. For more information on expert wildfire investigation assistance, visit

Black Forest fire near 8pm Tuesday

Colorado State fire resources are already stretched very thin with fire crews currently working the High Park Fire and several new fires in Estes Park, Colorado Springs, Durango, Leadville, Lake George, and Craig. The causes of the Bluebell and Black Forest wildfires are currently under investigation
Even when property is not damaged or destroyed during a wildfire, a determination of the origin & cause may be necessary. Establishing a cause is helpful in preventing similar future events. Public agencies are becoming more proactive in pursuing at-fault parties in order to recover suppression costs, which can easily extend above a million dollars even on a small incident. With the continual and exponential increase in the number and severity of wildfires in the United States, the determination of cause has become a crucial aspect in gaining valuable wildfire prevention intelligence.

Wildfire Claim Examination Tips:

  • Retain a specialized wildfire investigator; there are vast differences in conducting a wildland fire investigation compared to a structural fire.
  • Utilize a team approach; analysis of external factors such as multiple ignitions, first-responder actions, building code issues, weather influences, code compliance, and potential spoliation are important constituents that can be provided by a team of specialists.
  • Value of a “cold case.” A cold case may be several months old, but there can still be enough evidence available to help attorneys and adjusters produce a substantial argument or defense. Pattern analysis and macro indicators on some fuel types can be present for several months after a wildfire.

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