COLORADO SPRINGS — "As the weather cools, especially at night-time we do see a pretty significant increase in the number of fires up and down our trail systems," Sergeant Kurt Hasling who oversees the Colorado Springs Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is talking about warming fires at homeless camps. In recent weeks there have been numerous wildfires caused by warming fires pushing out of control.
One of those fires happened out east of Academy Boulevard. Fires are more common closer to the downtown area of the city. "We're seeing an increase in the number… up and down say the Powers corridor, over Academy, Platte, southeast, northeast parts of town," said Haling. The broader area of homeless camps expands the fire risk.
Colorado Springs Fire Marshal, Brett Lacey explains that the city regulations allowing you to have a fire in your backyard, factors into fires at homeless camps. Outside fires are allowed if rules are followed. The rules of outdoor fires are typically not followed at homeless camps. "They've got to be separated from combustible substances whether that's grass, tents, building, other combustible items. And they've to have a means to extinguish that fire and they also have to constantly attended." Falling asleep with a fire still burning is considered leaving a fire unattended.
When regulations are not followed there can be enforcement. When it comes to homeless it is difficult because campers scatter if there are problems.