Spring Fire In Costilla County Is Now Over 56,000 Acres

Photo: Spring Fire 4 July 1 | Costilla/Huerfano Counties, La Veta Pass - Courtesy
The Spring Fire in Costilla County continues to burn. A crown fire on La Veta Pass, as seen Sunday, July 1. The fire found an island of thick, unburned fuels.

Published 7:21 a.m. | Updated 10:53 a.m.

Editor's Note: The Spring Fire started June 27 and has continued to grow. This story covers developments and updates that occurred July 2. You can find the latest on the fire here. Our original post continues below.
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Warm, dry and unstable conditions did little to slow the growth of the human-caused Spring Fire that's charred the mountains east of Fort Garland, Colorado. Some containment has been established — 5 percent — around a fire that is now 56,820 acres in breadth.

The fire grows on a daily basis, moving quickly as it comes into contact with heavy fuels like trees. Winds continue to push the flames in erratic directions.

Over the weekend authorities arrested 52-year-old Jesper Joergensen on arson charges connected with the fire. The Denver Post reports that officials confirmed the arrest at a community meeting Saturday. The Costilla County Sherriff's Office is conducting the investigation along with the assistance of other agencies.

It is not clear if Joergensen has an attorney. At Sunday's public update, officials said they do not believe Joergensen started the fire intentionally.

More firefighters arrived to battle the blaze that has prompted the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes.

"It's a very challenging fire, I'll be honest with you, with all the wind changes," Shane Greer, an incident commander with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, told residents Sunday.

About 500 firefighters have worked to contain the flames since the fire began Wednesday. A second team arrived in the area Sunday and plans to take over fighting the fire north of US 160, which remains closed.

The first team will focus on the area south of the highway.

"Usually with a fire we can chase it ... we haven't been able to chase this because it keeps going in at least three different directions," Greer said.

Authorities said they began assessing some areas this weekend to track destroyed or damaged structures. But they cautioned that conditions remain dangerous and said they want to be sure that information is correct before notifying property owners.

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