(CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo.) — Neighbors in Chaffee County are back home after the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said a fire forced evacuations near Poncha Springs on Thursday afternoon, March 23.
CCSO posted about the fire on Facebook, and said a grass fire was reported just after 12:15 p.m. near County Road 253. Multiple agencies responded, including CCSO, Chaffee County Fire, South Ark Fire, the Colorado State Patrol, Salida Police Department, and Chaffee EMS.
CCSO said the fire was burning in a grass field between County Roads 140 and 253, just east of County Road 250 and was being pushed by the wind east toward homes in the area.
CCSO said crews began battling the fire as an Everbridge Alert was sent to neighbors in the immediate vicinity, evacuating them immediately. CCSO said the winds continued to push the fire toward the homes, but the quick response of fire crews stopped the fire “within feet” of homes and outbuildings.
CCSO said the Everbridge Alert was canceled and neighbors were allowed home about an hour later, at 1:12 p.m.
“This fire is a good reminder that we are entering into that time of year of heightened awareness of fire safety at your residence, proper address signs at your home, being prepared in case of evacuation, and making sure you are registered with the Everbridge System utilized by the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office,” CCSO said in their Facebook post.
CCSO also stressed the importance of keeping debris and flammable materials clear of your home. Keeping weeds and grasses trimmed can greatly help mitigate the risk of a fire moving quickly through your property, and having your address clearly marked at the entrance of your property can also help fire crews navigate in the event of a fire.
Lastly, CCSO encourages everyone in the community to have a “go-bag” packed in the event of an emergency and to sign up for Everbridge Alerts so you can receive alerts as quickly as possible.