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Spring Fire now officially 100 percent contained

HUERFANO COUNTY – More than two months after it started, the third largest wildfire event in Colorado history is now 100 percent contained.

The Costilla County Office of Emergency Management tweeted that the Spring Fire is fully contained Monday afternoon. Containment had sat at 93-95 percent for weeks before Monday’s announcement.

The fire burned a total of 108,045 acres, putting it only behind the Hayman Fire and the West Fork Fire Complex as the third largest wildfire event in state history. It is the second largest single wildfire in Colorado history.

The fire started on June 27 and exploded in size on June 29, jumping La Veta Pass and beginning its advance from Costilla County into Huerfano County.

The fire burned more than 140 structures, hitting the Forbes Park subdivision near Fort Garland particularly hard.

The fire forced mandatory and pre-evacuation evacuation orders for thousands of residents, from the northern Huerfano County line all the way into western parts of Las Animas County.

No loss of life or injuries were reported from the fire, but it was the nation’s highest firefighting priority at one point. In early July, more than 1,800 firefighters were working to contain it.

Monsoon rains helped the firefighting effort immensely in July, slowing the advance of the blaze and helping ease extreme drought conditions in the area.

The man suspected of starting the fire, Jesper Joergensen, faces 141 counts of arson in connection to the fire. According to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Joergensen is an illegal immigrant from Denmark.

Costilla County deputies say he told them different stories about how the fire started. He first told deputies he was burning trash, and he later told them he was cooking meat in a fire pit and thought he had doused the fire.

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley is a digital content producer at KOAA News 5. He has worked in southern Colorado since 2016.
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