Suspect arrested in Spring Fire

FORT GARLAND — A suspect has been arrested in connection with the Spring Fire, which is still listed as zero contained and at 38,136 acres as of the 1 p.m. briefing on Saturday.

The suspect who was apprehended by Costilla County deputies without incident was Jesper Jorgensen. Multiple agencies assisted in the investigation and his arrest.

When Costilla County Undersheriff Ricky Rodriguez announced to the evacuees at the Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center on Saturday that a suspect had been apprehended, there was applause from the crowd.

Rodriguez and others speaking to the group also stressed that the fire area is still off limits, and anyone going into that area will be charged.

“It’s not safe,” they said. There are downed power lines and propane tanks and other hazardous materials creating unsafe conditions in the burn area, they said.

They also said drones are forbidden over the fire area. As the briefing was going on, Rodriguez received a text that a drone was spotted in the fire area.

Incident Commander Shane Greer said drones fly at the same elevation as the helicopters and other aircraft that are fighting the fire, and if they come in contact with a drone, they could crash, so if drones are flying in an area, the firefighting aircraft will be grounded for safety.

Other highlights of the Saturday briefing included:

  • County staff are currently working on assessing structures lost in the fire and are developing a process for informing homeowners. Once the status of a house is known, there will be a face-to-face meeting with the homeowners. Behavioral health staff will be available, and are available at the evacuation center, for residents who need them.
  • A disaster assistance center will be set up, hopefully by Monday, and will be a “one-stop shop” to assist residents with their re-entry needs.
  • There is room for evacuees at the evacuation center at the community center, Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Bill Werner stressed. “We will accommodate you…we will find room for you.” Evacuees will be taken care with shelter, food and other needs, he stressed. Red Cross will also help with items like eyeglasses and other needs, Werner said.
  • The fire is still moving, and shifting winds have been causing difficulties with containment. The fire did cross Highway 160 in a couple of places, and the highway remains closed. The fire is still listed as zero contained, and Greer said it may be months before the Spring Fire is completely controlled and out. “That’s a lot time from now, months from now … Today it’s zero.”

See or or

Call 719-695-9573 for fire-specific information.

Fire-related community information for Costilla County: 719-480-8719.