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Officials unable to ID causes of Monument, Horseshoe 2 fires
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Officials unable to ID causes of Monument, Horseshoe 2 fires

  • The Monument Fire burns south of Sierra Vista on June 12.
    courtesy Glenn Spencer/American Border PatrolThe Monument Fire burns south of Sierra Vista on June 12.

Fire officials have ended investigations into the sources of last summer's Horseshoe 2 and Monument fires that burned more than 250,000 acres in Southeastern Arizona with no clear determination of how they began.

Although investigators were unable to find the exact cause of the Horseshoe 2 Fire that began May 8, 2011, and destroyed 222,954 acres and 23 structures in the Douglas Ranger District, the point of origin was in an area that is known for drug and human smuggling, the USDA Forest Service said.

Near the site where the fire began, investigators found trash and an old Sterno can that may have been used to heat food, but because of backburn and the delay in reaching the area, fire investigators could not pinpoint the exact cause of the blaze, the Forest Service said.

Investigators also were unable to determine the cause of the Monument Fire, which burned 32,043 acres over the Coronado National Forest, private land and in Mexico and destroyed 84 structures in the United Sates. That fire was reported on June 12 on National Park land.

The area where the fire began also is used by drug and human smugglers and investigators were unable to find evidence that linked it to people, the Forest Service said.

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