Boulder County woman charged in April grass fire

Fire burning in Boulder County 4/19/22.
Fire burning in Boulder County 4/19/22.(CBS Denver)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 11:08 AM MDT
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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - A Boulder County woman is facing charges for her alleged role in a fire in April that got dangerously close to homes.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office says 48-year-old Helena Syrovatkova inadvertently ignited the “Tally Ho Fire” when she spread ashes in her backyard to act as a fertilizer.

“Through investigation, detectives developed probable cause that Ms. Syrovatkova had lit a fire in a metal backyard fire pit on the night of April 18, 2022, and that she extinguished it that same evening,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Thursday announcing the charges. “There were no fire restrictions in place at that time. At around noon on the following day, April 19, 2022, believing the ashes were fully out, Ms. Syrovatkova spread them in a garden bed along the backyard fence of the property at which she resides. She did this under the belief that the ashes would be good fertilizer. A short time later, she was working inside the residence when she saw smoke and flames outside in the yard. She immediately went outside to try to extinguish the fire and called for emergency assistance.”

No people or animals were injured and no homes were lost; nonetheless, the fire still accrued more than $20,000 in damages.

Boulder County has endured abnormally high fire conditions for much of 2022, and April was no exception. The most destructive wildfire in state history, the Marshall Fire, had occurred less than four months prior to the Tally Ho Fire. Investigators concluded Syrovatkova showed criminal negligence in using the ashes in her garden “because it amounted to a gross deviation from the standard of care a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances.”

Syrovatkova faces misdemeanor charges of firing woods or prairie.

The sheriff’s office notes that Syrovatkova has cooperated with the investigation from the get-go.

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