ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 2012: According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, during the course of the Waldo Canyon Fire, there have been inquiries concerning smoke investigations in the Waldo Canyon area on Friday, June 22, one day prior to the start of the fire.
That day, at approximately 7:49 p.m., a resident in the Crystal Park area spoke with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPSO) and reported seeing smoke 3-5 miles from their residence. The smoke was described as being in the mountains north of Cave of the Winds.
The EPSO Communications Center dispatched fire resources from several agencies to the incident to conduct a smoke investigation in Waldo Canyon. Once on scene, those agencies worked together, searched the area, and were unable to locate smoke that night.
However, since the investigation was challenged by the hours of darkness, it was determined that fire resources would return in the morning to follow up; this is a practice common to smoke investigations which are hampered by low light conditions.
Fire resources did return the morning of Saturday, June 23 to conduct follow up. They were still in the area when the calls rang into dispatch centers announcing the visible smoke and fire which is now known as the Waldo Canyon Fire.