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Investigators: Table Mountain Fire caused by drone crash

No charges for researchers flying drone due to accidental nature
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Table Mountain fire near Longmont on April 20, 2022

Investigators have concluded that a drone crash caused Wednesday’s Table Mountain fire west of Longmont.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, three researchers associated with the University of Colorado-Boulders Aerospace Engineering Department were at the Table Mountain Radio Quiet Zone using a drone to conduct severe weather studies.

While flying the fixed wing aircraft, it crashed into the ground causing a lithium ion battery cell to dislodge and ignite, investigators said. The crew used an on-site fire extinguisher, but were unable to stop the grass fire before it began to quickly spread in the high winds.

The sheriff’s office said the crew remained on scene and cooperated with investigators. The group was flying within regulations and within the flying capability of the craft.

No criminal charges will be filed due to the accidental nature of the incident, the sheriff’s office said.

The Table Mountain fire, first reported around 3 p.m. Wednesday near the 5000 block of Nelson Road, grew to be 52 acres in size. Nearby properties were evacuated, but no structures were lost and no injuries were reported.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

Amy Golden is a reporter for the Longmont Leader covering city and county issues, along with anything else that comes her way.
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