Citizens are urged to follow these steps when conducting a controlled burn in Pueblo County
* Obtain a permit from your local fire department
* Report your burn to 583-BURN (2876) before you start the fire
* Keep a water source nearby along with a phone in case you lose control of the flames
* Always burn in a cleared area
* Never leave your fire unattended
* Only burn yard debris, no man made materials or other household products
* Don’t burn after dark without special permission
Seven agencies were needed to attack a grass fire after a controlled burn got wildly out of hand, scorching around 25 acres before crews could contain it.
Now, the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office wants charges filed against the man accused of starting the fire.
According to the Sheriff's Office, 82-year-old Tony Martellaro says he started a controlled burn in the morning, then called the Pueblo County Burn Line and found he was not permitted to burn that day due to a red flag warning.
The Sheriff's Office says that Martellaro didn't extinguish the fire after learning he couldn't conduct a controlled burn, but instead kept an eye on the fire until he had to go inside his home. While inside, the flames spread to a nearby river bottom. Martellaro tried to put it out at that point, but couldn't.
Neighbors saw the flames and called 911.
Emergency Services Bureau Captain Leroy Mora said the event could have been much, much worse.
“This gentleman is very lucky his neighbors didn’t lose their homes," said Mora. Several houses were threatened by the fire, but ultimately were left largely undamaged.