A 52-year-old Danish man has been charged with starting a wildfire in Colorado that has destroyed over 50,000 acres of land in the southern US state – and counting.
Jesper Jørgensen was arrested in Costilla County in southern Colorado on Sunday for starting a blaze that has led to over a thousand homes being evacuated and many buildings burning down.
As of last night, an estimated 500 firefighters were struggling to contain it – primarily due to unusual wind conditions and dry pine trees at the fire’s disposal.
Held as an immigrant
“Information on this matter is limited,” the sheriff’s office told media, adding that it was confident it was “human-caused” but less so about whether it was intentional.
“As far as we know, he didn’t do it on purpose,” an office official told the Denver Post.
It is believed that Jørgensen has been arrested on an immigration detainer (or hold) – a charge normally used when the suspect can be easily deported.
Colorado in crisis
The blaze is one of 12 ongoing wildfires in Colorado, with more than 150,000 acres on fire across the state.
Colorado is paying the price for an exceptionally dry winter and wind conditions that have been described as unprecedented.