The Black Forest community wants answers. What caused the fire that killed two people and burned 509 homes? The answers could come slowly.
Wescott Fire Marshal Margo Humes works with the Black Forest Fire Department, and she a certified fire investigator who knows what it takes to find out what caused a fire.
“I look at the way the grass burns, the way the black lines of the soot are on a tree-- what the fire is doing, what is the temperature outside,” said Humes.
She could not talk specifically about the Black Forest Fire, but said the U.S. Forest Service team behind the investigation is well trained.
The team will use special gear, flags, and even gardening rakes as they walk through the burned Black Forest land. One of the things they will be looking for is the way things burned. For example, they will check if one side of a tree is more burned than the other.
“You get down to the point where you are actually looking at really minute details with a magnifying glass,” said Humes.
In terms of finding a point of origin and cause, investigators could be looking at areas with less damage. In a wildland fire, like in Black Forest, the point of origin has the least amount of damage.