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All evacuations lifted and U.S. Attorney's office issues citation to man accused of starting Hewlett Fire

8:54 AM, May 19, 2012   |    comments
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Authorities say all evacuations ordered because of the Hewlett Fire were lifted at 7 p.m. Highway 14 also reopened then.

Area residents are asked to remember that there is still firefighters and firefighting equipment in the area.

More than 500 fire personnel continued to battle the fire on Friday. As of Friday evening, containment reached 45 percent. It has burned 7,673 acres and authorities say it did not spread on Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service says 56-year-old James J. Weber of Fort Collins is accused of burning brush or grass without a permit. He faces a $300 fine and $25 processing fee. The Forest Service says it will also pursue Weber for restitution on the cost of fighting the fire.

The U.S. Attorney's office won't know how much Weber could owe in restitution until the fire is out and a complete assessment is done. The assessment process is said to take several months.

Forest Service investigators say Weber was camping on the Hewlett Gulch trail. While camping he used a camp stove which uses alcohol. On Monday, the camp stove Weber was using started the wildfire. He tried to stomp out the fire, but couldn't. The Forest Service says he then fled as the fire spread.

Weber later reported that he started the fire to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. There is no cell service at the location of the origin of the fire.  

Colorado State University confirms Weber is an employee in the university's health network.

It was raining over the fire area just before 3 p.m. on Friday. However, fire crews were concerned about wind gusts that could reach up to 50 mph on Friday afternoon and Friday evening.

The heavy air tanker dropped 8,300 gallons of retardant on the fire on Friday.

A bike tour set for Sunday with more than 1,600 people expected to participate was also cancelled on Friday due to health concerns raised by the Hewlett Fire.

The wildfire broke out in Poudre Canyon near the Hewlett Gulch Trail in Roosevelt National Forest on Monday just after 1 p.m. Authorities believe it is human caused.

Fire crews spent Thursday working on the east flank of the fire along the North Fork of the Poudre from Seaman Reservoir to Long Draw. The fire is moving toward the north, but all areas are considered to be active.

It has grown east to Seaman Reservoir, north to within 1/2 mile of the southeast corner of Glacier View subdivision, it remains to the west of the North Fork of the Poudre River and north of Highway 14.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries on Tuesday night and was treated and released. So far, that is the only report of injuries from this wildfire.

Larimer County says they are mostly concerned with keeping the structures safe.

The fire is in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest. The fire is located approximately 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins, 10 miles west of the junction of Hwy 14 and Hwy 287 near the Hewlett Gulch Trail in the Poudre Canyon.

It's a difficult hike to the fire, and there is limited access through the roads - making fighting the fire difficult to fight. Larimer County says the fire spread quickly after it started in the grasses on Monday. Now, the fire is burning open timber, brush, grass, and other types of vegetation.

This fire is in the same area where there have been at least eight fires in previous years.

The U.S. Forest Service is posting updates on the fire at http://inciweb.org/incident/2863/.

Potential evacuees can call 970-498-5500 or visit larimer.org if they need information. Larimer County's website will help residents get emergency alerts: http://leta911.org.

9NEWS has created a Wildfire Resource Center to answer many questions about the fire season.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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