Solar Power lighting system caused Fowler-Hilliard Hut Fire

VAIL, Colorado — A fire that burned down the Fowler-Hilliard Hut in the Vail-area backcountry was likely caused by the hut's lighting system, investigators say.

The blaze was “most likely started from a problem with the solar panel/ battery-powered lighting system in the hut,” investigators found, according to Shannon Cordingly, spokeswoman for the Eagle County Sheriff's Office.

However, lightning on the night of Sept. 20 could not be ruled out as a potential factor, Cordingly said.

From my perspective, having the solar system cause the fire is a little bit more dangerous than the lightening strike, for the simple reason that most huts have them. Thankfully nobody was in the hut when this happened, and I dread the thought of waking in the middle of a cold winter nightat 11,000' to a hut burning down.

If there is anything that we can do to prevent this from happening I surely would like to know.