Man Acknowledges Starting Wildfire In SW Colorado

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A 54-year-old Dolores man accused of starting a wildfire that prompted evacuations in southwest Colorado has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson.

The Cortez Journal reports Roger Stratton struck a plea deal Thursday that calls on him to serve five years of supervised probation, pay full restitution, refrain from having an outdoor fire on his property for five years and perform an undetermined amount of community service.

The Roatcap Fire burned more than 400 acres and prompted evacuations of about 30 homes in Montezuma County after it started Oct. 24, 2012.

Stratton, who is set to be sentenced Jan. 23, acknowledged burning leaves on his property when the wind caused the fire to spread out of control. No structures were lost.