An illegal burn may have spread to 13 acres, forcing dozens of evacuations and threatening two homes Tuesday afternoon.
What caused a grass fire in Hanover, 50 minutes southeast of Colorado Springs, is not known for sure. But the Hanover fire chief told 11 News the original call for service came in as a possible illegal burn--and the possibility of that being the cause has residents furious.
"I can't believe people would even do that. It's just like no matter what it is, it’s kind of like ‘guys really, in the middle of fire season?’ And just as we're about to get into deep into fire season," Cody Sheehan said.
Firefighters first responded to Sagebrush Lane in Hanover around 3 p.m. after receiving a call about a possible illegal burn. Hanover Fire Chief Carl Tatum said the fire started around a road.
Strong winds gusts topping 50 mph and erratic wind shifts made battling the fire challenging for the several agencies that responded. Homes within a 10 mile radius were evacuated.
As containment was set up around the grass fire, Hanover Fire Chief Carl Tatum said the winds were blowing embers from hot spots outside of their containment lines, creating a dozen spot fires in a neighboring field.
"With gusts of wind up to 55 mph we still had hot spots. We still had crews coming in, we didn't know exactly which way this fire was going to go," Tatum said.
After two and a half hours, firefighters were able to get 100 percent containment. Families were allowed to return to their homes by late Tuesday afternoon.
The fire was extinguished by Tuesday night. Tatum said hand crews walked the entire area of the fire making sure it was totally out.
Homeowners are hoping this isn't a sign of what's to come.
"Every year there's more and more wildfires and it's really worrisome," Sheehan said.
The cause remains under investigation.