Debris Fire Erupts in Colo., Threatens Homes

March 19, 2013
Fire burned about 15 acres in the St. Charles River bottom on Monday threatening at least six homes as firefighters scrambled to extinguish the blaze.

March 19--A debris fire spread and burned Monday in the St. Charles River bottom, threatening at least six homes near 32nd Lane.

The fire was fueled by strong winds and dry vegetation. Firefighters from around the county battled the blaze that, at last update, charred about 15 acres near 32nd and South Road.

No injuries were reported and no evacuations issued but Lisa Shorter, a spokeswoman for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, said fire crews were protecting six homes in the area.

As of late Monday the fire was about 80 percent contained, but there were flare-ups that produced large flames when the fire reached patches of tamarisk.

"It's bad. It's a mess out here," said Jackie Bottini, who lives along 32nd Lane. "The wind was brutal."

Pueblo County was under red flag restrictions Monday, meaning burning was prohibited. Shorter said a resident, who wasn't identified, had a permit to burn but burning still was illegal.

The resident was burning a debris pile when it sparked out of control about 3 p.m. Around that time, wind speeds were between 33 and 41 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Deputies closed South Road between 30th and 33rd lanes and many residents had to wait at the roadblocks until it was safe to go home.

Fire crews from the county's emergency service bureau, Rural Fire, city of Pueblo, Pueblo Chemical Depot, Boone, Pueblo West and a tanker from the county's road and bridge department responded to the fire.

The fire was expected to be completely contained today.

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Copyright 2013 - The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.

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