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A year later, no cause for southwestern Colorado wildfire

The 416 Fire started in extreme drought conditions near tracks for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

DURANGO, Colo. — A year after its start, authorities have not announced the cause of a wildfire that burned about 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) in southwestern Colorado.

The Durango Herald reported Saturday that the investigation into the 416 Fire has been passed from the U.S. Forest Service to the Justice Department. Spokesman Jeff Dorschner declined to comment, saying the case is "open and active."

The fire started June 1, 2018 in extreme drought conditions near tracks for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. A resident reported seeing smoke after one of its coal-fired trains passed by.

RELATED | Lawsuit accuses railroad company of starting 416 Fire

The owner of the scenic railroad, Al Harper, declined to comment but has previously acknowledged the possibility of a train starting the fire.

Some residents and business owners, meanwhile, are suing the railroad over the fire.

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