Hanover home destroyed by grass fire

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HANOVER, Colo. (KKTV) - A wind-driven grass fire consumed one home in rural El Paso County Sunday afternoon before firefighters could contain it.

The one person inside was able to escape, but the home is a total loss, the Hanover fire chief said.

The fire started in the area of Alaya Way just south of the Pikes Peak International Raceway. The wind made conditions challenging for firefighters, even more so when crews were essentially battling two fires: the one in the home and the grass fire.

"The initial issue was where we was going to set up at to start the initial attack on the house and getting the grass fire knocked down," Fire Chief Carl Tatum told 11 News.

There were concerns about the fire spreading to neighboring houses.

"The roads are about 20, 25 feet wide, vegetation 3 to 4-foot. So if it would jump, and then we was concerned about some other structures in the area."

Proactive neighbors had sprung to prevent exactly that from happening before crews arrived.

"They had some, you know, hand tools and stuff out just trying to knock down the fire. Or, you know, just digging some fire lines to keep the fire from leaving the property itself," Tatum said.

Getting water to the scene was another challenge.

"As the engines started to arrive, we had tender support coming in right behind them, so it was a little difficult at times to get the water we needed to address the situation," Tatum said.

Despite the hurdles, particularly the wind, crews were able to contain the fire to about 2 acres.

Tatum is urging the public to stay on top of property mitigation.

"The property [where the fire burned] hasn't been mitigated so grasses and vegetation was between 3 and 4-foot-tall. So our flame lengths were pretty high, especially with the wind. ... Fire mitigation is key. If you're not doing fire mitigation, unfortunately this stuff's going to happen and we're going to lose homes. Unfortunately, this homeowner just lost their home today."

Editor's note: We were originally told the fire started in the home; we have since updated that to say the fire began as a grass fire.