Update, 2:50pm: The evacuation area for the Hewlett Fire has just expanded as the blaze continues to burn unabated. The Larimer County Sheriff said that 15 homes in an area along Highway 14 from Greyrock Trail Head to North Poudre Diversion Dam are being evacuated. This is roughly from mile marker 113 to 115 and deputies are going door to door to notify residents.
The new evacuations are in addition to the ones previously announced which remain in place. This included 65 homes from Bonner Springs Ranch Road to Highway 287 including Bonner Springs Ranch Rd, Deer Valley Rd, Obenchain Rd and Ingleside Rd.
Scroll down for earlier updates.
Original story, 11:30am: The Larimer County Sheriff has ordered the first round of evacuations as the Hewlett Fire burning northwest of Fort Collins continues to grow. Tinder dry conditions and strong winds threaten to feed the fire which has quickly grown to more than 5,000 acres.
The blaze was first reported on Monday, May 14, in Roosevelt National Forest and is believed to have been human caused. This morning the U.S. Forest Service estimated that the blaze had grown to 5,090 acres nearly quintupling the estimate from yesterday.
Residents had started preparing for an evacuation order and that word came this morning.
The sheriff has ordered all residents from Bonner Springs Ranch Road to Highway 287 and south to immediately flee. Bonner Springs Ranch Rd, Deer Valley Rd, Obenchain Rd and Ingleside Rd are all included in the evacuation area which officials estimate includes 65 homes.
A shelter has been established at Cache La Poudre Middle School, 3515 West County Road 54G in La Porte, Colo. Large animals may be taken to The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
Nearly 400 firefighters have been deployed to battle the blaze in Poudre Canyon approximately 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins. More firefighters have been ordered to assist as well as two heavy air tankers and two helicopters.
Mother Nature does appear prepared to assist the battle against the blaze. Isolated thunderstorms are expected to develop over the area this afternoon and gusty winds will accompany them. Temperatures are expected to remain unseasonably warm and humidity very low.
Infrared satellite imagery has been detecting the heat from the fire and smoke has spread across the Colorado Front Range to as far south as Denver. Area health agencies are warning residents that the smoke can be hazardous, particularly for those sensitive to airborne particulates.
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On the net:
- Larimer County Sheriff Hewlett Fire page
- Inciweb incident page
- National Weather Service detailed forecast page