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Man arrested after campfire spreads, burns 45 acres in Park County on Saturday

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Posted at 6:40 AM, May 05, 2021

DENVER – Park County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Saturday after he drove off a trail and started a campfire that got out of control and burned around 45 acres of land, the sheriff’s office said Monday.

The fire happened Saturday near Park County Road 56 and Forest Service Road 813 – southeast of Jefferson off Highway 285. The Park County Sheriff’s Office said several people camping in the area had to be evacuated but said no one was hurt and no structures were lost in the fire.

Several nearby fire agencies responded, and a large airtanker and helicopter were brought in to help stop the fire from spreading.

The sheriff’s office said they discovered the suspect, identified as Phillip N. Riker, had driven off-trail and started a campfire that got out of control and spread. Riker did stay in the area and called 911 to report the fire, Sheriff Tom McGraw said.

Riker was arrested for investigation of intentionally setting a wildfire, second-degree arson, unlawful conduct on public property and driving under suspension. He posted bond on Sunday evening and was released, McGraw said.