Illegal welding work ignited Silver Charm Fire in Colorado Springs, fire officials say

Fire was 75% contained as of 6:30 p.m.; 500 homes were evacuated
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Posted at 2:12 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-23 01:00:03-04

DENVER — Evacuation orders were lifted for the Farm subdivision of Colorado Springs more than three hours after a "heavy fire in heavy fuels" started near I-25 and Interquest Parkway.

The Silver Charm Fire was reported just after 12:30 p.m. behind The Great Wolf Lodge on Federal Drive. Shortly after, the fire department issued and immediate evacuation for the Farm subdivision. Evacuees from the fire behind the Great Wolf Lodge were sent to Pine Creek High School to seek shelter.

By 2 p.m., the fire department said the fire was knocked down and no structures were lost.

Fire officials estimated the fire to be between three-to-five acres in size as of 3 p.m., according to Colorado Springs Fire Chief Randy Royal, who initially said evacuations would remain in place until about 5 p.m.

About 45 minutes later, however, by around 3:44 p.m., the Colorado Springs Fire Department tweeted all evacuations had been lifted and residents were given the green light to return to their homes.

By 6:30 p.m., the fire was estimated to be 17 acres in size and 75% contained.

The fire was started following a welding accident, according to our sister station in Colorado Springs, KOAA-TV, who also reported that the welding work being done was illegal. The company responsible was cited and will have to appear in court, KOAA-TV said.

Winds near the fire are out of the south at 20-35 mph, with gusts over 50 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo. The NWS said the winds will persist through the afternoon, along with relative humidity near 5%.

The Colorado Springs Police Department was on priority dispatch during the fire, which means they asked that anyone in the community only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment also issued an air quality alert for portions of northern El Paso County until 9 a.m. Saturday due to wildfire smoke. Officials recommend people with respiratory illnesses, heart disease and the very young and elderly to limit time outdoors.

About 135 firefighters were sent to the scene to fight the blaze. Officials could not provide a containment percentage as of 3 p.m.

About 500 homes were evacuated during the blaze, the city's fire department said in an update posted on Twitter. No structures were damaged.