COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — The strong winds and dry weather that have primed the Colorado Springs area for wildfires over the past few days have also caused a tumbleweed invasion in one community.
Homes in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood were swarmed with tumbleweeds after strong winds picked up on Friday. Tumbleweeds piled as high as one story on some properties blocking entrances and doorways.
“They can’t even get in and out of their houses without actually having to pull and move tumbleweeds out of the way,” said Tyler Medina, a homeowner in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood.
Over the weekend, the National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 65 miles per hour in the Colorado Springs area.
“Days like we saw with a 65-mile-an-hour gust, that’s considered high wind warning criteria.
It’s all been from the west-southwest,” said Klint Skelly, warning coordination meteorologist at NWS Pueblo.
Consecutive days of strong winds blowing from the same direction was the perfect recipe for a tumbleweed attack, specifically on the homes on Wacissa Drive that border an open field.
Some community members were jumping in their trash bins to pack in and get rid of as many tumbleweeds as they could after multiple days of cleanup.
“You put three [tumbleweeds] in the bag and six more blow in. It’s overwhelming because you try and clean up only knowing that probably tomorrow more are coming,” said Medina.
Neighbors said this tumbleweed attack has been the worst of many this year.
“It’s usually weekly that we’re out here cleaning up tumbleweeds. It takes us about two to two and a half hours just to clean up,” said David Lowery, a homeowner in the Lorson Ranch neighborhood.
The tumbleweeds take up time and money. One homeowner, Jamile Shaheen, said he spent over $1,000 on cleanup supplies this year, including rakes, garbage bins, and a constant supply of durable garbage bags.
“Last year we didn’t have anything. We had maybe a few weeds coming through, but other than that, we didn’t have nothing,” said Shaheen who has lived in Lorson Ranch for two years.
The tumbleweed plant, formally known as the Russian thistle, blooms every two years. It is understandable why neighbors that moved into the area a year ago would be surprised.
People are now in desperate search of a tumbleweed cleanup service.
“If I need my lawn mowed, I know to call the people that mow my lawn. But, who do you call to pick up tumbleweeds?” said Medina.
One option is Jesse and his son Mason Scott. They got several clean up requests after putting up an ad on Facebook. They have been charging roughly $100 per yard depending on the size, and quantity of tumbleweed. Their services can be found on the Lorson Ranch Residents’ Facebook Page.
On Sunday, they cleaned six houses, starting at 9:30 a.m., and worked for over six hours that day.
Mason said he actually likes cleaning the tumbleweed, “and it’s good for extra money,” he added.