STERLING, Colo. – Charges have been filed against a man for allegedly starting the wildfire that burned more than 32,000 acres and killed hundreds of livestock across three Colorado counties in early March.
Patrick Svoboda, 39, faces fourth-degree arson and reckless endangerment charges in the fire. Fire investigators found that Svoboda had been welding a feed trough in a dry corn field on March 6, and sparks caught the field on fire.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Office noted that there were red flag warnings in place on that windy day, and that Svoboda’s alleged actions were “reckless.”
The sheriff’s office says it obtained a warrant for Svoboda’s arrest on April 19 and that he has since turned himself in.
The fire burned around 32,000 acres in Logan, Phillips and Sedgewick counties and killed hundreds of cattle and other livestock and wildlife.
The sheriff’s office had said on March 8 they had found the fire’s point of origin and that the landowners were cooperating.
Investigators with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation helped Logan County investigators determine that Svoboda was allegedly involved, though hundreds of fire and rescue personnel from multiple counties and cities in the area were involved in putting the fire down after three days.
“Watching neighbors helping neighbors, and strangers helping strangers has been remarkable, and that’s what makes it great to live in northeastern Colorado,” Logan County Sheriff Brett Powell said.