Saturday: Arson Charges Filed; Spring Fire In Southern Colorado More Than 41,000 Acres

Jun 30, 2018

Authorities have arrested a suspect on arson charges related to the Spring Fire burning in Costilla and Huerfano Counties in southern Colorado. Jesper Jorgenson, 52, was arrested without incident by Costilla County deputies in an investigation that also included the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, state arson investigators, Colorado State Patrol, and Immigration and Customs agents. The investigation is still ongoing, and no further information is available.

Jasper Jorgenson, 52, was arrested by Costilla County Sheriff's Deputies and faces arson charges in connection to the Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado.
Credit Costilla County Sheriff's Office

In Costilla County, a mandatory evacuation went out around 8:45 p.m. for the area north and east of Trinchera Road, and south of Highway 160 in the Fort Garland area, not including Fort Garland. This area had  been under a pre-evacuation notice. A shelter is at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center.

At 9:43 p.m., a pre-evacuation notice went out in Huerfano County for Red Wing, Chama, Malachite and the town of Gardner. This also includes the Badito area on the south side of Highway 69.

As of 6:46 p.m. Saturday, the fire is 41,292 acres, mostly burning on private lands. Additional evacuations were ordered this afternoon in Huerfano County for Navajo Ranch, Majors ranch, and residences along County Road 530 south to Highway 160.

Original Post: The Spring Fire burning in Costilla and Huerfano Counties in southern Colorado has expanded to more than 38,000 acres in size with 0% containment. That's up from just 4000 acres as of Thursday. The fire started Wednesday afternoon, and officials say it was human caused but still under investigation. 

Temperatures are expected to be 3-5 degrees cooler Saturday, but fire officials still anticipate hot, dry and windy conditions. Highway 160 remains closed at La Veta Pass between Fort Garland and La Veta. Highway 12 is also closed in the Cuchara Valley.

The Colorado Department of Transportation map shows closed highways in the area of the Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado.
Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

On the east side of the fire yesterday, crews worked on building firelines and air resources helped cool the fire's edge in areas of lighter fuel. Officials say crews also made progress on the west side of the fire in constructing fire lines. Similar work will occur today. Smoke could increase today.

In Huerfano County, mandatory evacuations went out late yesterday afternoon for residents in the Cuchara Valley. Also included were Paradise Acres, Raspberry Mountain, Pine Haven, and Tres Valley. La Veta is not part of the mandatory evacuation notice but remains on pre-evacuation status.

Costilla County officials say those evacuated need to obtain resident credientials available at the La Veta Fire Department or Fort Garlad Community Center. The credentials are required once evacuation orders are lifted.  Those orders went out to more than 350 phone numbers in the Forbes Park area in Costilla County Wednesday morning, and some structures have been lost. Wagon Creek is under evacuation and Trinchera under pre-evacuation notice.

Red Cross shelters are in place at the Huerfano Community Center in Walsenburg as well as the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center in Blanca.

Last update: 9:45 p.m., Saturday 6/30/18.