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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Contact: ATF

ATF Determines BLM Facility Fire Was Not a Criminal Act

CHALLIS, Idaho — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has completed the on-scene investigation into the cause and origin of the fire at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Challis Field Office, 1151 Blue Mountain Road, Challis.

The cause of the fire was ruled undetermined with no evidence of any criminal act. Investigators cannot conclusively determine the cause of the fire but have no evidence of an added accelerant in the BLM field office fire.

Over the course of two days, a team of investigators from ATF methodically removed the debris from the heavily damaged structure. The team took photographs, recovered fire debris from the scene for analysis, and conducted numerous interviews.

The fire at the BLM facility was reported in the early morning hours Tuesday. The building which housed 25 BLM employees is a total loss. Since the building was a federal facility ATF investigators took charge of the fire scene investigation.

The fire damaged structure has now been turned over to BLM.

No injuries were reported during the fire. The extent of the damage is unknown but is initially estimated to be in the millions. The BLM Challis Field Office manages 792,243 acres of public lands, mostly in Custer County.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at


Seattle Field Division