Colorado Springs Fire Department confirms that a fire Thursday at Red Rock Canyon Open Space was started by a model rocket. Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental.
While working to contain the fire, crews found a model rocket, confirming the reports that 911 dispatchers had received.
Drivers on the interstate Thursday afternoon saw signs advising them of a grass fire in the popular open space, stirring memories of the last time a fire started in another highly frequented recreational area--Waldo Canyon.
Fortunately, the fire never expanded beyond five acres, and was contained within a couple of hours. Still, it was a reminder about how vulnerable the drought-stricken region remains to fire, even after the blast of winter weather over the past few weeks.
Residents say the incident isn't going to scare them off of their favorite trails.
"I'm not going to stop hiking because of it," Kathy Price told 11 News. "People have to be more responsible."
Red Rocks Canyon is located off Highway 24 near Manitou Springs.
Model rocket launches are permitted under the 2009 International Fire Code (IFC), and Colorado Springs is currently not under any city fire restrictions or burn bans that would restrict launches. However, with conditions as dry as they are, CSFD urges residents to be extra vigilant with outdoor activities.
When fire restrictions or burn bans are in effect, a special permit is required for groups, clubs or organizations wanting to launch model rockets.