Authorities in Colorado arrested an illegal alien Saturday who they accuse of starting a series of wildfires that destroyed over 38,000 acres of land.
Jesper Joergensen, 52, was arrested and charged with arson. The blaze he reportedly set led to a wildfire that has raged across Spring Creek in Costilla County, Colorado.
The Costilla County Sheriff’s Office reported that the suspect is not a legal U.S. citizen but could not say from what country he originated.
“The initial cause of the fire was human-caused,” the sheriff’s office reported on a Facebook announcement. “The investigation was lead by our office with the assistance of CBI, State arson investigators, CSP, and Immigration and Customs agents. Jesper Joergensen, 52, was arrested without incident by Costilla County deputies. Jesper is being held on Arson charges.”
The fire Joergensen allegedly started has burned over 38,000 acres thus far and has required the evacuation of the Fort Garland area just this weekend.
“Mandatory evacuations were ordered on June 30 for the area north and east of Trinchera Ranch Road, and south of Highway 160 in the Fort Garland area. There is an evacuation shelter at the Blanca Fort Garland Community Center,” according to WildFireToday.com.
Already some 350 residents have been evacuated from their homes.
Affected areas are the towns of Fort Garland and La Veta in southern Colorado. Fires have been fueled by high Summer temperatures in the mid-80s and dry and windy conditions. An undetermined number of buildings have already been destroyed and as the fire spreads toward more populated areas that number is expected to rise.
Colorado has been experiencing drought-like conditions this Summer.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.