Arson suspect arrested

415-acre fire near Dolores is 70 percent contained

Charred trees along the Roatcap Fire path is all that is left Thursday afternoon. The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 53-year-old man in connection with the suspected arson fire on Thursday afternoon. Enlarge photo

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Charred trees along the Roatcap Fire path is all that is left Thursday afternoon. The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 53-year-old man in connection with the suspected arson fire on Thursday afternoon.

Deputies from the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 53-year-old man Thursday afternoon in connection with the Roatcap Fire burning south of Dolores, near the junction of Montezuma county roads 29 and P.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, was previously identified as a “person of interest.” The arrest warrant was issued for fourth-degree arson, a felony.

According to the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center, the Roatcap Fire endangered high-voltage power lines, a Colorado Department of Transportation storage facility and 100 homes – 30 of which were evacuated Wednesday.

Lt. Ted Meador said the man was taken into custody shortly before 3 p.m., and he is being held at the Montezuma County Detention Center on $3,000 bail.

Earlier reports that the blaze was sparked by a trash fire gone awry were inaccurate, Meador said.

At noon Thursday, the Roatcap Fire had consumed 414 acres of mostly private – and some Bureau of Land Management – land since igniting Wednesday about 11 a.m.

With the blaze 70 percent contained, residents of the 30 homes evacuated were allowed to return Thursday evening after passing through designated checkpoints and filling out re-entry forms.

lgroskopf@durangoherald.com

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