Fire Command: 640-Acre Hewlett Fire Human-Caused

160 Homes On Standby To Evacuate

Investigators now say that a 640-acre wildfire threatening homes in the Poudre Park area of Poudre Canyon was human-caused.

While details are still under investigation, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jackie Parks told 7NEWS that the fire originated Monday near a hiking trail.

“The Hewlett Fire is still active and moving to the northeast,” Parks said. “We have a pre-evacuation alert.”

Dozens of homeowners who live along highway 14 between mile markers 110 and 115 have packed belongings in boxes and bags and are ready to leave at a moment's notice.

“We’ve got all of our animals crated and ready to go,” said homeowner Linda Slover.

When asked what it was like waiting for the reverse 911 call, Slover said, “Scary.”

The Poudre Canyon resident said she didn’t get much sleep last night because she was worrying about the fire.

She spent much of the day Tuesday watching the smoke to see what direction it was blowing.

“It’s addicting,” she said. “You just sit there and watch it. It’s really frightening.”

Neighbor John Thomas was taking no chances.

He stretched a 180-foot-long fire hose from the Poudre River to his house and attached it to a pump.

“It’ll pump about 12,000 gallons an hour,” he said.

Parks said the fire, burning in rough, steep terrain 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins, is five percent contained.

She said the fire's behavior on Tuesday was what fire commanders had anticipated.

"The fire, at this point, has been moving away from the homes," Parks said. “We’ve been making progress on the ground with air support.”

Parks told 7NEWS that an air tanker and two helicopters dropped retardant and water on critical hot spots.

She said firefighters are focusing on structure protection, securing fire lines and on their safety, as well as that of the public.

There are no roads in the fire zone according to Parks, so firefighters are going in on foot in rugged terrain with loose rocks.

“That’s one of the things that we cover every morning in our briefing,” Parks said, “The loose material, rolling rocks, rolling debris that could be coming at them as they’re moving up the hill.”

She said firefighters will monitor the fire Tuesday night with engine crews assigned for structure protection.

Parks said that a Type II Incident Command Team will take over management of firefighting efforts on Wednesday.

Larimer Fire Restrictions

Larimer County's fire restrictions were set to expire on Tuesday, however the Board of Larimer County Commissioners extended the restrictions on open fires, the use of fireworks, and public fireworks displays through June 15 for the unincorporated areas of Larimer County.

The restrictions were originally adopted on April 10 in conjunction with restrictions on the Roosevelt National Forest.

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