Curtis Road grassfire – another in a series of forest fires

EL PASO COUNTY – There is a dangerous trend with bushfires in southern Colorado. They happened daily with the recent dry and windy conditions.

“I could smell it, I couldn’t see where it was coming from,” said East El Paso County resident Gerry Latour. It wasn’t five minutes later, a big puff of smoke and I see coldly that he was coming from Curtis Road.” Latour first evacuated and then returned to try to protect his house when he saw the his neighbour’s house burnt down.

The blaze along Curtis Road started on Sunday evening and burned nearly 40 acres before firefighters put it out. Investigators said a possible cause was sparks from a trailer with a mechanical failure.

Latour has lived along Curtis Road for over three decades. “This is the third time I have been evacuated in just over two years.” Recently, grass fires have become all too common.

“This summer is expected to be dry and hot,” Pikes Peak Regional Emergency Management Office Director Jim Reid said. He said the current string of fires shows why everyone should have a wildfire plan. This includes mitigation measures to protect the property, as well as an evacuation plan.

In the plains, wild grass can grow very tall. “Remember, if your grass is a foot long, the flames of the fire are two feet long, so double the size,” Reid said. When pushed by the wind, it is more than enough to set structures on fire. The best prevention is to cut tall grass near houses and outbuildings.

Reid said having an escape plan in place brings peace of mind. He speaks from experience. He lives not far from where the fire burned along Curtis Road on Sunday. He received a pre-evacuation notice. “There was no panic, ‘Okay everyone, we had a pre-evacuation, you have this dog, I have this dog, you have these things, I have these things, we are ready from? Yes.” His family didn’t have to evacuate, but they were ready with what they had planned ahead to take.

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