Alabama Campers Arrested Over Colorado Wildfire

More than 600 acres have been scorched, 2K people evacuated
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2016 7:30 AM CDT
Alabama Campers Arrested Over Colorado Wildfire
A plane spreads flame retardant as it battles the Cold Springs Fire near Nederland, Colo., on Sunday.   (Autumn Parry/The Daily Camera via AP)

More than 50 Colorado National Guardsmen are helping hundreds of firefighters battle a blaze that the Boulder County Sheriff's Office says was started by two careless campers from Alabama, USA Today and the AP report. Jimmy Suggs, 28, and Zackary Kuykendall, 26, of Vinemont were arrested Sunday and charged with fourth-degree arson—a felony because lives were endangered by the wildfire, a sheriff's statement cited by the Denver Post notes. They reportedly started the campfire Thursday night going into Friday at a campsite on private property near the Peak to Peak Highway and Cold Springs Road, and while it may be reasonable to assume the men didn't mean for the fire to get out of hand, the sheriff's statement notes they're being charged because they didn't make sure the fire had been put out properly or ensure the ashes were cooled down before they left the site, reports.

The Cold Springs fire, which officials say was helped along by hot, dry weather and winds that blew the still-smoldering ash, has since Saturday spread over more than 600 acres, burned down three homes (one of which is a Nederland firefighter's, CNN reports) and three other buildings, and caused the evacuation of more than 2,000 people southwest of Boulder. Thirty other homes are still said to be at risk depending on how hot it gets and which way the wind blows. One resident who was evacuated tells the Boulder Daily Camera that as she was leaving the area, she "looked and saw an inferno in the sky." Both suspects are being held at the Boulder County Jail. The Denver Post has images of the wildfire and affected residents. (More Colorado stories.)

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