Spring Creek Fire (2018)

Coordinates: 37°26′46.24″N 105°10′28.68″W / 37.4461778°N 105.1746333°W / 37.4461778; -105.1746333
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Spring Creek Fire
The burn scar west of Highway 12.
Date(s)June 27, 2018 (2018-06-27) – September 10, 2018 (2018-09-10)
LocationCostilla and Huerfano counties, Colorado, United States
Coordinates37°26′46.24″N 105°10′28.68″W / 37.4461778°N 105.1746333°W / 37.4461778; -105.1746333
Burned area108,045 acres (437 km2)[1]
Structures destroyed140[2]
Perpetrator(s)(alleged) Jesper Joergensen
Spring Creek Fire (2018) is located in Colorado
Spring Creek Fire (2018)
The fire's location in southern Colorado

The Spring Creek Fire was a wildfire near Fort Garland and La Veta, Colorado in Costilla and Huerfano[3] counties in southern Colorado. The fire burned a total of 108,045 acres (437 square kilometers)[2] and was the third-largest wildfire in Colorado history.[4]

Origin and trial[edit]

The Spring Creek Fire started on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 near Fort Garland, Colorado.[5] Jesper Jørgensen (modified to Joergensen or Jorgensen in English), 52, a citizen of Denmark and reported by immigration authorities as being in the United States illegally because he had overstayed his visa, has been arrested and faces arson charges for allegedly starting the fire.[3] He had been using a fire pit to grill food while camping in rural Colorado. Jørgensen claimed he was unaware of the open fire ban. He had presumed the fire in the pit was fully extinguished, but was woken from his afternoon nap by the smell of smoke a few hours later. He initially attempted to extinguish it himself, getting minor burns in the process, and when that failed he called 911. When the first firefighters arrived the fire had already engulfed trees and vegetation.[6] The blaze was declared 100% contained on September 10, 2018. More than 140 structures were destroyed in the fire.[2]

Shortly after his arrest in June 2018, Jørgensen was declared mentally incompetent, causing a delay in his case.[7]


The Forbes Park neighborhood near Fort Garland was under mandatory evacuations during the fire.[8]

In Huerfano County, mandatory evacuations were ordered for Cuchara, Chama, Red Wing, Malachite, and Badito south of Highway 69. The community of Gardner was placed on "pre-evacuation" for a time.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Spring Creek Fire". InciWeb. US Forest Service. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Kackley, Tom (September 10, 2018). "Spring Fire now officially 100 percent contained". KOAA News 5. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Paul, Jesse (July 2, 2018). "Spring Creek fire suspect reported blaze and had burn marks as he spoke to authorities, arrest documents say". The Denver Post. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Sevits, Kurt (July 4, 2017). "Spring Fire now the 3rd largest in Colorado history at more than 94,000 acres". Denver7 & TheDenverChannel.com. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Case, Angela (June 29, 2018). "Spring Fire grows to 14,424 acres; Highway 160 closed". KXRM. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  6. ^ Phillips, Karen (June 13, 2018). "A man told authorities he started a fire to grill his food. He's now facing 141 counts of arson". Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Stacy, Sharron (January 16, 2020). "Denmark immigrant due in court today". KYDN. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "Hundreds Evac Ahead of Fast-Moving CO Blaze". Firehouse. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "New Mandatory Evacuations Issued In Spring Fire". 4 CBS Denver. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.

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