HUERFANO COUNTY, Colo. -- Like wildfire, news spread quickly about an arrest in connection with the Spring Fire in southern Colorado.
For residents of the small town of La Veta, which is located just over the mountain pass from Costilla County, and which had been in the path of the fire for days - seeing nearby communities and families losing homes to the flames was painful enough, but hearing that an alleged arsonist was the cause of the fire was devastating.
Bakery owner Kandy Pandolfi, like everyone in the area, keeps a watchful eye on the smoke and the flames not too far away.
“(I'm) shocked. Sad. Overwhelmed,” she said.
The fire hits close to home as she lost hers to one ten years ago.
“Such a small scale. That’s nothing compared to this. But to just know that people are losing their homes and wildlife…its tough,” said Pandolfi.
Her customers are people from here and out-of-towners, too. Kelly Pelton has been vacationing in La Veta, for many years.
“It’s sad because it affects so many people. There are decades and decades of family history up here. People who vacation up here since the early 20’s,” said Pelton.
To know that all of this was caused by someone weighs heavy, but the townspeople aren’t letting it keep them from enjoying one more day spared from the fire.
“There’s a lot of emotions. It’s hard to experience for yourself. It’s hard to see your community experience it. Hard to hear the stories...really hard,” said Pandolfi.