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Woman charged with negligently causing Tally Ho Trail Fire

Sheriff’s office says resident spread ashes, leading to 10 acre fire in April
Boulder County Sheriff's Office

A woman has been charged for her role in an April grass fire in unincorporated Boulder County.

Helena Syrovatkova, 48, was charged on June 17 with “firing woods or prairie” for causing the Tally Ho Trail Fire through criminal negligence and the resulting $20,000 in damage, according to a release from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

The Tally Ho Trail Fire Broke out April 19 south of the Twin Lakes neighborhood in Gunbarrel, growing to just under 10 acres. Multiple homes were evacuated but no structures were lost, homes damaged or injuries reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, the fire did cause damage to the yards and fences of eight residential properties and open space grassland with estimates of the damages exceeding $20,000.

The sheriff’s office said Syrovatkova, a resident of unincorporated Boulder County, has been cooperative with investigators since the beginning of the investigation.

Law enforcement said the probable cause of the Tally Ho Trail Fire was a fire Syrovatkova had lit in a metal backyard fire pit on April 18 that she extinguished that evening. There were no fire restrictions in place at the time.

Around noon on April 19, believing the ashes were out, Syrovatkova spread them in a garden bed along the backyard fence of her home. The sheriff’s office said she did this believing the ashes would be good fertilizer.

A little bit later, she was working inside when she saw smoke and flames in the yard. Syrovatkova tried to extinguish the fire and call for emergency assistance.

“Investigators, after consulting with the Office of the District Attorney and other agencies, concluded that Ms. Syrovatkova’s decision to spread the ashes was criminally negligent because it amounted to a gross deviation from the standard of care a reasonable person would have exercised under similar circumstances,” the press release said.

Firing woods or prairie was recently amended from a class two misdemeanor to a petty offense. Syrovatkova is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Amy Golden

About the Author: Amy Golden

I grew up in Colorado Springs and earned a degree in journalism from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
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