Man accused of starting Roatcap wildfire in SW Colorado pleads not guilty

CORTEZ, Colo. - A 53-year-old Dolores man accused of starting a wildfire that prompted evacuations in southwest Colorado has pleaded not guilty.

The Cortez Journal reports Roger Stratton appeared in court Thursday on a felony charge of fourth-degree arson. His trial is scheduled for June 3.

The Roatcap Fire burned more than 400 acres and prompted evacuations of about 30 homes in Montezuma County after it started Oct. 24.

Sheriff Dennis Spruell has said the fire wasn't set intentionally, but was done so carelessly and put authorities and residents in danger. Stratton is accused of burning leaves on his property when the wind caused the fire to spread out of control.

No structures were lost.

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