GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The evacuation order for 65 homes near the Hewlett Fire was lifted Thursday evening.
At one point on Thursday 80 homes were placed on a mandatory evacuation order because of the 7,300-acre Hewlett Fire in northern Colorado.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office lifted the evacuation order from Bonner Springs Ranch Road to 287 and South. Those residents are welcome to return home but are urged to stay alert and ready to leave if needed.
Evacuations ordered Thursday afternoon for Highway 14 from mile marker 107 to 117 remained in effect Thursday evening. Larimer County Sheriff’s deputies went from door to door alerting residents of the mandatory evacuation order.
“They said if you live up near Bonner Peak to get your butt, get up there and start getting your stuff out,” said evacuee Terace Trodt. “I’m just scared to lose everything and just want to get everything out of there.”
An additional 15 homes were included in another evacuation area from Greyrock Trail Head to North Poudre Diversion Dam, approximate mile markers 113 to 115. Deputies also went door to door in that area.
Highway 14 remains closed.
“We had about a day to get everything ready so just family mementos and everything else can be replaced. We’re just glad everyone is safe. Looks like everything’s going to be okay. We’re just going to trust in God with that,” said evacuee Mary Caraway.
An evacuation center is being established at Cache La Poudre Middle School, 3515 West County Road 54G in Laporte. Those residents with large animals are asked to take them to The Ranch off Interstate 25.
“I took three before and I got my fourth one, so I’m feeling better. I didn’t want to leave him back there alone, you know,” said evacuee Cindy Adam when talking about moving her horses away from the fire.
An evacuation center was being set up at Cache La Poudre Middle School on 3515 West County Road 54G in Laporte.
Watch the complete 3:30 p.m. news conference with Larimer County officials about the evacuation order and the current status of the firefight.
Infrared mapping of the fire overnight showed the blaze has consumed about 5,090 acres but officials confirmed it grew to 7,300 acres by 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
It is still only about 5 percent contained. Steep, rocky terrain and lack of roads in the area are hampering firefighting efforts. Some 400 firefighters have been dispatched to the fire.
Fire growth was predominately on the north and east sides of the fire on Wednesday and overnight. The fire produced 1-2 foot flame lengths with rapid uphill runs, short range spotting and short crown runs.
“I just want everybody safe. I don’t want to see any of these homes lost,” said Trodt.
All of the smoke pouring from the fire has prompted the Colorado health department to issue a smoke advisory for the Poudre Canyon from Hewlett Gulch east to Laporte and Fort Collins.
The department says that if visibility is less than five miles it’s unhealthy and you should stay inside. The advisory will be in effect through noon on Friday.
Also, public school students in Fort Collins have been told to stay inside and avoid outdoor activities after an air quality warning was issued because of the fire.
The Colorado health department said Thursday older adults and children should limit prolonged exposure.
Before Thursday’s order, homeowners had been taking the pre-evacuation warnings very seriously. Poudre Park resident Maureen McFarland was packing up just in case on Wednesday.
“I’ve got pictures and some clothes and food for the dogs and the cats,” McFarland told CBS4. “Beyond that you just kind of shut down. You can’t take everything from your home. You can only grab the jewelry and the stuff that I feel is important.”