Danish Man Arrested as Colorado Wildfire Destroys 100 Homes

Authorities say he was in the country illegally
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2018 12:24 AM CDT
Danish Man Accused of Starting Colorado Wildfire
Firefighters take a break from battling the Weston Pass Fire on Monday near Fairplay, Colo.   (Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP)

More than 100 homes have been destroyed by a Colorado wildfire that investigators say was started by an illegal campfire. San Luis Valley Emergency tweeted Monday night that 104 homes have been destroyed so far by the wildfire east of Fort Garland. The blaze has burned 89 square miles and forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes since last Wednesday, the AP reports. According to court documents, 52-year-old Jesper Joergensen initially said he had started a fire to burn trash but then said he had been grilling in a permanent fire pit the day before the blaze began. Joergensen, who reported the wildfire, is from Denmark and has been living in the country illegally. He was arrested Thursday.

Fires are also burning out of control in California, Oregon, and Utah. Forecasters say the threat of wildfires will diminish in the US Southwest this month but increase in the Northwest and along much of the California coast. The National Interagency Fire Center says that the summer monsoon should bring enough rain to Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico in early July to reduce the risk of major fires. But the danger remains high through the end of July in Utah and parts of California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. By August, the threat spreads across much of the Northwest, extending east into most of Montana. The danger in the Northwest is expected to persist through September.

(More Colorado wildfires stories.)

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