Grass fire started by unattended homeless campfire

Grass Fire
Grass fire near I-25 and the MLK bypass / Mike Duran -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Fire crews now have a cause for Monday morning’s grass fire near I-25 and the MLK bypass.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department says the fire is being reported as “accidental” due to a “careless act.”

Crews found evidence of a campfire that was left unattended from a homeless camp.

This fire was started half a mile away from Sunday night’s fire. The cause of that fire is now being reported as “undetermined.”

Monday’s grass fire started at 9:15 a.m., creating traffic northbound on I-25, south of the Nevada exit.

It also created challenge for firefighters with a limited water supply.

“We’re shuttling water from our fire hydrants that are off site back on to the interstate to supply the firefighters that are off the creek here. We also have high winds, so that’s going to push the fire,” said Steve Wilch, public information officer for CSFD.

Fire crews say strong winds, leaves, brush, and trees were fueling the flames that were left behind from a campfire at a homeless camp.

“We do have concerns over the homeless population and the campfires that they use for cooking and warming. And those things, if they’re not put out properly, the campfires, these high winds will stoke a fire and drive it through the creek bed,” Wilch said.

More than 25 firefighters worked to put out the flames to keep it from spreading.

“On a normal day without the winds, we’d see a fire that might creep along. In this case, we had flames that were leaning over, being pushed by the winds, so fire will be driven by the winds today,” Wilch said.

A reminder that in these conditions, even the smallest spark, is nothing to take lightly.

Fire crews it’s especially important for homes in the WUI or Wildland Urban Interface to be extra cautious during red flag warnings.

CSFD says there are more than 35,000 addresses in the WUI that are vulnerable to fire.

>> Click here for a map of the WUI area. 

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