FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – The Hewlett Fire in Poudre Canyon has grown to 640 acres, worrying firefighters who are trying to keep it from reaching homes northwest of Fort Collins.
The fire is currently only 5 percent contained. Officials said on Tuesday they’ve been able to get a good hold on the southeast side of the fire.
The fire is believed to have been human-caused, but investigators haven’t determined if it was intentional.
Fire spokeswoman Reghan Cloudman says calls were made to 160 phone numbers telling residents to prepare to leave. An air tanker on Tuesday was dropping fire retardant, along with two helicopters.
Cloudman says the fire is within a quarter mile of some homes. It is burning on federal and private land about 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins. On Tuesday afternoon the fire was said to be moving away from the structures in a westerly direction.
US Forest Service spokeswoman Jackie Parks said about 150 personnel were working at the fire scene. Another 125 firefighters were said to be on order to arrive later.
Investigators still don’t know what caused the fire.
Officials say the rocky terrain is making the fire very difficult to fight.
“Some of the challenges we have on Hewlett fire are just the rugged terrain … our canyons are very steep, so our fire crews have to be aware of rolling material, rocks and things in the way,” Parks said. “It’s an arduous height to the fire and we have limited access with roads.”
Take a look at the topography of Poudre Canyon in the video below:
One homeowner said he stayed home from work Tuesday just to monitor the movement of the fire.
“It just crept along, crept along until after dark; and then of course when it got after dark it was more visible and scarier, but it seems like the cold, night air or something dampened it down and this morning they were able to go up there with shovels … but we were kind of worried there for about eight to 10 hours,” homeowner Charlie Robbel said.
Meanwhile in western Colorado, firefighters expected to have a 170-acre fire between Delta and Whitewater fully contained sometime Friday. It was 80 percent contained Tuesday.
That fire was started by lightning. No structures are threatened.
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