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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Wildfire burns 2.5 acres adjacent to campus

Pueblo+Rural+Fire+Department+crews+help+to+manage+a+wildfire+blaze+from++Bartley+Boulevard+Tuesday%2C+April+12.+The+fire+broke+out+shortly+after+6+p.m.+and+was+batted+down+roughly+two+hours+later%2C+after+at+least+five+departments+responded+to+the+call.+%5BToday+photo%2FAustin+Belore%5D
Pueblo Rural Fire Department crews help to manage a wildfire blaze from Bartley Boulevard Tuesday, April 12. The fire broke out shortly after 6 p.m. and was batted down roughly two hours later, after at least five departments responded to the call. [Today photo/Austin Belore]

High winds, dry conditions prompt red flag warnings across region

By Brenden Vigil, Kimmy Reinhardt and Danielle Whitaker

The smell of smoke still lingered on campus Wednesday, April 13, following a Tuesday evening fire that scorched a swath of prairie land north of Colorado 47, southeast of Bartley Boulevard and south of Alamosa Drive.

The burn area is not on CSU Pueblo land, but is adjacent to the campus.

The fire started shortly after 6 p.m. Students reported seeing flames from campus. The fire impacted residents of the apartments with reduced air quality and limited access to the Wolf Village Apartments.

Pueblo Fire Department Capt. Bryce Boyer said Wednesday that at least five agencies responded to the flame, which was contained to 2 ½ acres of prairie land. The goal, he said, was to beat back the blaze before it had the chance to cause major problems.

“With the wind speeds that were present yesterday, the fact that the predicted winds were in the 80 to 100 (mile per hour) ranges, it very much pointed us to what happened in Boulder and the Marshall Fire,” he said. “It’s very important we don’t repeat this.”

The department activated a task-force, a “short and fast way to say everybody who’s available” should help out, Boyer said.

“It’s a pretty monumental effort when you take [the conditions] into consideration,” he said.

CSU Pueblo students Gavin Martinez and Colin Stewart were walking back to their apartment at Wolf shortly before 8 p.m., as multiple fire squads contained the last of the flames.

Martinez and Stewart said the blaze started small, but within 30 minutes was much larger.

With the wind speeds that were present yesterday, the fact that the predicted winds were in the 80 to 100 (mile per hour) ranges, it very much pointed us to what happened in Boulder and the Marshall Fire. It’s very important we don’t repeat this.
— Pueblo Fire Capt. Bryce Boyer

The campus-adjacent fire was one of several that sparked across Southern Colorado on Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued red flag warning and high wind warnings for the region for much of the day. Red flag and fire weather alerts remained in effect for all of Wednesday, until 11 a.m. Thursday, April 14.

According to Weather Service records, just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, firefighters were contending with 23 mile-an-hour winds, with gusts up to 33 miles per hour. Those sustained winds continued for nearly five hours.

** Related content: The blaze through our lenses ** 

“One of the biggest things people can do to contribute in a positive way is to pay attention to the weather forecast,” Boyer said. “Pay attention when they say red flag warnings, fire weather warnings, those sorts of things.

“Any type of ignition sources, from a barbecue grill to a little campfire, candles, cigarette lighters, anything that can be a potential heat source, eve a backfire in a vehicle are the kinds of things that can quickly turn into a pretty bad day.”

The National Fire Protection Association found that every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. In 2021, according to the association, fires caused $21.9 billion in property damage, across the U.S.

The association offers a wildfire preparedness kit that includes tips on protecting your home from wildfires. To access the tip sheet, visit nfpa.org.

The Today will dig more deeply into fire safety in our April 28 edition.
Today reporters Brianna Sammons, Michael Milisavlejvich and

contributed to this report.

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