photo - Yellow caution tape in front of a fire truck. (istock)
Yellow caution tape in front of a fire truck. (istock) 

Improper disposal of cigarettes sparked three structure fires in three days in Colorado Springs, officials said.

The fires occurred across the city, said Steve Wilch, spokesman for the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

- The Vineyards apartment complex, 7320 Bodega Point, about 7 p.m. Friday.

- A home in the 1000 block of 14th Street, about 10:40 p.m. Saturday.

- Tree House Apartments, 1567 S. Chelton Road, about 2 a.m. Monday.

No injuries were reported from any of the fires, and each was extinguished quickly, Wilch said. All were ruled accidental.

People need to be more careful about where they dispose of their cigarettes, he said. A cigarette butt placed in vegetation, a potted plant or landscape material, like mulch, can "smolder and easily catch fire and endanger lives and property as in the three fires this weekend," according to a Fire Department news release.

The best place to put a cigarette is in an ashtray or a metal can.

"Things are so dry here, that even hot ashes falling from the tip of a cigarette can potentially ignite the dry grasses," said Ralph Mangan, a fire investigator, in the news release.

Burning restrictions have been put in place in Colorado Springs, El Paso County and Fountain in recent days, all of which limit outdoor smoking.

In El Paso County and Fountain, where Stage 1 restrictions are in effect, outdoor smoking is banned except in an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in an area 3 feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable material. In Colorado Springs, smoking in city parks and open spaces is not permitted.

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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