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Man arrested for northeast Colorado wildfire that destroyed 3 homes

By: The Associated Press
April 25, 2017 Updated: April 26, 2017 at 6:31 am
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HAXTUN, CO - MARCH 7: A home that was caught up in a large brush fire driven by high winds near the town of Haxtun in Phillips County, Colorado. March 7, 2017, , Colorado. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

DENVER — Authorities have arrested a man suspected of starting a wildfire that scorched more than 30,000 acres, destroyed three homes and killed hundreds of head of cattle in northeastern Colorado.

The Denver Post reports 39-year-old Patrick Svoboda was arrested last week on arson and reckless endangerment charges stemming from the March 6 fire northeast of Sterling.

Investigators say Svoboda was welding on a metal feed trough in a dry cornfield in roughly 50 mph (80 kph) winds on the day the blaze began, sending flames racing across the parched prairie more than 20 miles toward the town of Haxtun.

According to an arrest warrant, a sheriff's deputy who pinpointed the ignition point on Svoboda's property knocked on his door only to be greeted by a lawyer who said Svoboda would not comment.

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