Officials identify ‘person of interest’ in the Weber Fire

Blaze that burned 9,279 acres 45 percent contained Thursday

Authorities on Thursday said they have identified a juvenile who they suspect may have started the Weber Fire southeast of Mancos.

In a brief news release, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office said it has identified a “juvenile as a person of interest.”

The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office is working jointly with the Bureau of Land Management on the investigation.

Both agencies declined to comment further Thursday, including about the cause of the fire or whether any arrests have been made.

“As the case evolves, further information will be made available that will not jeopardize the case,” the release said.

The Weber Fire started June 22 near the side of a road south of Mancos.

As of Thursday, it had burned 9,279 acres and was 45 percent contained.

No homes have been lost.About 140 homes were evacuated, but the evacuation orders have been lifted for some houses.

For the latest information about which homes remain evacuated, visit www.montezumasheriff.org.

The cost of fighting the fire was estimated at $2.5 million as of Thursday afternoon, said Connie Clementson, field manager with the BLM.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been authorized to cover 75 percent of the state’s expenses for managing, mitigating and controlling the blaze.

The grant does not provide assistance to individual home or business owners.

Firefighters have been aided by cooler, more humid weather the last few days.

Fire officials set controlled burns to reduce fuels around the fire’s perimeter and used a hydro axe to grind up vegetation and make it less likely to burn.

Other firefighters are making their way around the perimeter in search of hot spots and dousing them with water.

shane@durangoherald.com

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