Weber Fire investigation inches slowly forward

Decision on charges now up to DA, feds

Keywords: Poll question,

According to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation of the Weber Fire has been completed and is now in the hands of the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

In late June, the Bureau of Land Management and the sheriff’s office reported the investigation had zeroed in on a juvenile as the potential suspect in causing the 10,133-acre blaze that sparked on the afternoon of June 22.

On Monday, Sheriff Dennis Spruell confirmed that it was a local juvenile who had intentionally set the fire.

District Attorney Russell Wasley referred all questions to James Candaleria of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

When contacted, Candaleria said he could not comment on who would prosecute the case until formal charges are filed.

He added that the Weber Fire case had been an active investigation by federal authorities for some time, but added he could not comment any further at this time.

Spruell said authorities targeted a suspect within days of the fire beginning, and now it is up to the district attorney to decide what to do and whether to prosecute a juvenile.

“It wasn’t an accident,” Spruell said of the fire.

For more than two months authorities have been tight-lipped on the investigation.

Shannon Borders, BLM public affairs specialist for the Southwest District, said last week that the case was still under investigation, so no information could be released.

Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ted Meador has repeatedly said during the past two months that the holdup to any prosecution of the fire is unknown because federal officials or local officials would be the ones in charging and prosecuting the juvenile.

Spruell, on Monday, said he would be releasing the information on the investigation as soon as it was allowed.

The fire, estimated to have cost $3.2 million to fight, started about six miles south of Mancos and was fully contained July 5.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com