A man is facing arson charges after a grass fire that forced evacuations in Eastern El Paso County Saturday afternoon.
Investigators say they do not believe the fire was intentional and that's why the man is charged with 4th degree arson instead of first degree arson.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says the homeowner was burning something on his property just before 5 p.m. and the fire got out of control.
It happened near Jones Road and Log Road near Ellicott. Several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.
"Command made the decision, because of how close it was to start evacuating homes, and without the predictability of the weather. It's best to get people out of there safe and sound than to have to contend with that as well," Ellicott fire chief Nellie Roop says.
No people or animals were hurt, but the fire did burn about 80 acres.
Neighbors say fires like this are a scary reality of living on the plains.
"It's always scary; it's something you've got to get used to. I mean, like I say we've got a bunch of horses and we've got to make plans if we've got to get them out," Bob Bartlett says.
The fire was declared completely out at approximately 7 p.m. but a crew monitored the area to make sure it doesn't flare up again.