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Thursday marks 1-year anniversary since start of Spring Fire

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 21:21:19-04
  • Spring Fire<div class="caption-wrap"><div class="caption">Courtesy: Tomi Price

HUERFANO COUNTY – Thursday marks the 1-year anniversary of the third-largest wildfire event in Colorado history.

The Spring Fire burned a total of 108,045 acres, destroyed 140 structures and brought an incredible flash flooding risk to the communities of La Veta and Walsenburg.

The Spring Fire ranks only behind the Hayman Fire (137,760 acres) and the West Fork Fire Complex (109,632 acres) as Colorado’s largest wildfire events. As a singular wildfire, it is the second largest in state history.

Thankfully no injuries or loss of life was reported, but it prompted evacuation orders or pre-evacuation orders for thousands of residents in Costilla County, Huerfano County and Las Animas County.

The fire exploded in size on June 29, jumping La Veta Pass and beginning its advance from Costilla County into Huerfano County. At one time, it was the nation’s highest firefighting priority. In early July, more than 1,800 firefighters worked to contain it.

The man suspected of starting the fire, Jesper Joergensen, faces 141 counts of arson in connection to the fire. According to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Joergensen is an illegal immigrant from Denmark.

Costilla County deputies say he told them different stories about how the fire started. He first told deputies he was burning trash, and he later told them he was cooking meat in a fire pit and thought he had doused the fire.

Joergensen is expected back in court on Aug. 2.