PUEBLO COUNTY – The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that a broken power pole caused the Stonemoor Fire that burned west of Pueblo on June 29.
The Sheriff’s Office said a “weather-related” event caused the power pole to fall over, causing a live line to arc into a juniper bush, starting the 217-acre fire that burned a shed and a garage.
Deputies said a Black Hills Energy employee reported a microburst in the area around the time the fire started. The National Weather Service said it is possible one occurred, but it did not have any record of a severe weather event that day when the fire started.
U.S. Forest Service tracked the start of the fire to a power pole in a field southeast of Canyonview Drive that belonged to Black Hills Energy. Deputies said the pole had a tag that indicated it had last been inspected in 2002 and showed signs of dry rot.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office also said Sheriff Kirk Taylor met with Black Hills Energy, which acknowledged the pole was not inspected in a time frame that was normal in the industry. According to the sheriff’s office, power poles are normally inspected every 10-15 years. The Sheriff’s Office said it did not receive documentation from Black Hills Energy about the pole’s condition or inspection records.
The fire was considered fully contained on July 2. It burned into Lake Pueblo State Park and forced the evacuation of homes near Highway 96 west of Pueblo.
No injuries were reported and no homes were lost.