Deputies arrested a man suspected of starting a 38,136-acre fire burning in Costilla County Saturday.

Jesper Jorgenson, 52, was arrested on suspicion of arson, the Sheriff's Office said during a community meeting.

The Spring fire, which sparked Wednesday, was 0 percent contained Saturday morning. Multiple structures have been lost, though no injuries or fatalities have been reported, according to the fire's incident website.

It is one of seven burning in the state, the most of any state in the U.S.

Evacuations have been issued for Forbes Park and Wagon Creek. Pre-evacuation notices have been issued for the towns of La Veta and Cuchara, Paradise acres, Navajo Ranch and parts of Majors Ranch and Piñon Hills.

U.S. 160 from Fort Garland, mile marker 258, to La Veta, mile marker 294, will remained closed until further notice due to heavy smoke, poor visibility and proximity of the fire to the highway.

Officials determined Friday that it was human-caused, though the exact ignition source is unknown.

Temperatures Saturday are expected to be 3 to 5 degrees cooler than Friday, though the relative humidity is still low, between 10 and 14 percent.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo predicted a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Sunday after noon. Rainfall totals are expected to be less than a tenth of an inch.

The 275 firefighters working on the blaze are mostly focused on protecting homes and building a fire line to slow growth. Air tankers and helicopters dropping water and fire retardant were used Friday to help cool the fire's edge and attack areas with lighter fuel. 

Much of the fire has been contained to the south side of U.S. 160 except for a portion that crossed the highway near Mt. Mestas.

There will be a 1 p.m. meeting for evacuees held at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center, 17591 East U.S. 160, which also is serving as the evacuation center.

Several other fires are burning this week in Colorado, including the Weston Pass fire in the Pike & San Isabel National Forests near Fairplay. The lightning-caused is estimated at 1,500 acres and 0 percent contained.

Colorado State Patrol closed CO 9 from Hartsel to Fairplay and U.S. 285 from Antero Junction to Fairplay.

The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire Sunday, according to the Forest Service.

Mandatory evacuations are in place “in the immediate vicinity” of the fire, the Park County Sheriff’s Office said. “Evacuations for Black Mountain subdivisions are voluntary at this time but residents should be prepared for a full evacuation.” County Road 22 is closed.

Other fires include:

  • High Chateau fire, south of Florissant and west of Cripple Creek. 661 acres, 0 percent containment, at least four structures lost.
  • Sugarloaf fire, 1,311 acres, 0 percent containment.
  • Stonemoor fire, southwest of Pueblo's Stonemoor Hills neighborhood. 217 acres, 40 percent containment.
  • Divide fire, Moffat County. 2,100 acres, no containment reported, at least one structure lost.
  • Burro fire, northwest of Durango. 3,869 acres, 40 percent containment.
  • 416 fire, north of Durango. 47,031 acres, 37 percent containment, no structures lost.

Twitter: @lizmforster

Phone: 636-0193

Liz Forster is a general assignment reporter with a focus on environment and public safety. She is a Colorado College graduate, avid hiker and skier, and sweet potato enthusiast.