KENT ISLAND, Md. (WJZ) — We may know the cause of a massive seven-alarm brush fire that forced Marylanders from their homes. Investigators have linked the blaze to marijuana.

At least 40 acres of woods and homes burned on Kent Island and authorities have been trying to pinpoint its origin ever since.

Kai Jackson has more.

It took a lot of sweat and water to put out that fire. Now authorities say an illegal enterprise may be the cause.

Thick smoke and ash filled the skies of Kent Island in June as a raging brush fire burned about 48 acres of woods. At one point, it forced some 25 Queen Anne’s County residents from their homes.

“I couldn’t stay away any longer; I wanted to see if my house was still here,” said one resident.

Rich in natural resources, Kent Island is a jewel on the Eastern Shore and the fire threatened people and property. After a thorough investigation, the Department of Natural Resources may have found the cause.

“What we think now is the most likely cause of the fire is some type of discarded material,” said DNR State Fire Supervisor Monte Mitchell.

And the discarded material that DNR found was marijuana, though it’s unclear at this point who owned it.

“What we’ve found at area of the origin of the fire is a suspected marijuana grow area, where it looked like someone had been cultivating some plants in that area,” Mitchell said.

Surprisingly, nearly a month later, the brush fire is still burning, though contained.

“You can’t really extinguish all the fire and because of the drought conditions that we have across the state, it’s very difficult and those fires get deep-seeded,” Mitchell said.

The Department of Natural Resources says it will continue to monitor the hot spots and make sure the fire stays in their containment line.