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Man accused of starting massive Spring Fire in southern Colorado will go to trial

COSTILLA COUNTY, Colo. — Jesper Joergensen, a the man accused of starting the Spring Fire in southern Colorado early this summer, will go to trial. A spokesperson for the Colorado Supreme Court announced the news Friday morning via Twitter.

52-year-old Joergensen, a Danish immigrant living in Colorado illegally, faces 141 counts of first-degree arson. The charge is a class-three felony.

The Spring Fire was one of the largest wildfires in state history. It burned more than 107,000 acres, making it the third largest wildfire in state history after the Hayman Fire in 2002 and the West Fork Fire complex (technically three separate fires that merged) in 2013.

Jesper Joergensen
(Photo: Costilla County Sheriff’s Office)

At least 146 homes were destroyed.

At one point, more than 1,000 people were fighting the fire that burned east of Fort Garland in Huerfano and Costilla counties.

The fire began on June 27. Joergensen was arrested on June 30.

According to an arrest affidavit,  Joergensen told authorities he used a fire pit two feet in the ground to cook meat the day before the massive fire started. He told authorities that he tried to put it out but was unsuccessful.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials placed an immigration detainer on him. Joergensen’s immigration status is illegal because he overstayed a visa.

He is next scheduled to appear in court the morning of Oct. 4.

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