FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– The Hewlett Fire burning in Poudre Canyon was 45 percent contained as of Friday evening.

The fire on Friday morning was listed at 7,673 acres, which is more than 11 square miles. Some of the hottest spots are burning in the southeast corner and along the northwest edge of the fire.

Residents of the last 15 homes under an evacuation order were allowed to return home at 7 p.m. Friday.

The U.S. Forest Service has cited a Fort Collins man for starting the fire.

James J. Weber started the blaze while camping on the Hewlett Gulch trail on Monday in Poudre Canyon in Larimer County near Highway 14. According to the Forest Service Weber was using a camp stove that used alcohol. That camp stove started the blaze.

Weber, 56, told authorities at the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office that he tried to stomp out the fire but it didn’t work. When the fire spread, he ran away to safety. Where the fire started was out of cell phone range.

More than 500 firefighters are battling the fire.

Weber was cited for causing timber, trees, slash, brush or grass to burn except as authorized by permit. He faces a $300 fine plus a $25 processing fee. The Forest Service will pursue Weber for restitution.

The severity of the Hewlett Fire near Fort Collins prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper to declare a disaster emergency on Friday morning.

The executive order states that the fire’s “proximity to numerous homes and property poses an imminent danger to life and property and, therefore, constitutes a disaster for the purposes of the Act.”

As a result, $3 million will be made available from the state’s Disaster Emergency Fund to help pay for firefighting efforts.


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