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South Pueblo residents concerned about thick vegetation, homeless activity in area of Thanksgiving night grass fire

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Homeowners near the site of Thursday night's 20-acre at Lake Minnequa said that's it's the third fire there in the past two years, and they want to see more done to address possible causes of those fires.


Although the cause of the latest fire remains under investigation, some neighbors express concern about thick vegetation around the lake that could provide more fuel to a fire; and worry that homeless activity they've seen in the past, could have sparked Thursday's blaze.


The fire spread dangerously close to homes along O'Neal Avenue and Mirror Court, leading to some temporary evacuations for those residents; further spread, however, was partially limited by grass mowed behind the homes.

One evacuee, Jesse Placher, said that his home would have burned if the wind hadn't changed direction, and if a neighbor hadn't used a garden hose to soak the side of his home nearest the fire.


"I could feel the heat from the fire while my wife and I were preparing to evacuate," he said. "We grabbed our dog and got our truck out of the driveway. If the house had burned, at least we'd still have the truck. I didn't have important documents or anything like that, ready to grab like you're supposed to."

Between 20 and 30 city and Pueblo County firefighters responded to the scene; they said that their strategy was to essentially let the fire burn itself out and also used the flames to burn off other vegetation that would have fueled its spread.


"There are no hydrants close by, so we used the closest one a watering station for our brush trucks," said Keith Miller, an assistant fire chief for Pueblo." There are some natural fire breaks around the lake, and several trails and walking paths. That helped limit the fire's spread and allowed us to keep it under control."


Miller said that the city performs some mitigation work around the lake every year, but much of the highest and thickest vegetation is in marshy areas where mitigation is difficult.

"There is a longer-range plan to do more mitigation, but it probably depends on the availability of funding," he said.


There were no injuries or property damage reported in the fire; firefighters received the call at around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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