May 152012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

A large cloud visible from the Mishawaka Amphitheater shows the destructive path of a 370-acre forest fire currently burning northwest of Fort Collins in Hewlett Gulch.

“The fire is growing, and there’s still fire activity on all sides,” said Jackie Parks, a public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

Parks also said that as of midday on Tuesday, the fire was about 5 percent contained. That figure has not changed as of Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reports that while 65 residents have been allowed to return to their properties, 15 were still ordered to steer clear of their homes.

In LaPorte, Cache Poudre Middle School at 3515 W. County Road 54G has been turned into an evacuation center.

The Larimer Humane Society is providing temporary shelters for dogs, cats, small mammals, and small farm animals –– goat–sized or smaller –– for people affected by the Hewlett fire. Horse and cattle owners can take their animals to the Pavilion Ranch-way Feed Building at The Ranch in Loveland. Evacuees who need help doing are encouraged to contact (970) 226-3647 ext. 7 to speak with an Animal Protection and Control dispatcher. Additional Fort Collins temporary pet housing is located at 6317 Kyle Ave.

Evacuees concerned about pets still on their property can provide their address, pet description and needs to the LHS animal shelter. Animal protection and control officers will tend to animals in need.

So far, the cause of the fire is being investigated, but the U.S. Forest Service has said that humans started it.

The blaze started around 1 p.m. on May 14 and continued growing overnight.

Parks also said that the firefighters were making good progress, particularly on the southeast side of the fire, toward the Cache le Poudre River.

Firefighters were working on creating a fire line to protect the Poudre Park community, which contains about 50 to 60 residences, the Coloradoan reported.

Five customers of the Rural Electric Association had lost power because of the fire.

There was no immediate threat to any homes, but the forest service had put out pre-evacuation calls to residents of the area and was assessing several for structure protection as the fire approached Tuesday morning.

“Our crews are hiking into the fire line, making sure there is a good line around the perimeters,” Parks said.

The fire was expected to continue growing, as temperatures rise and humidity drops.

News Editor Elisabeth Willner can be reached at News Editor Andrew Carrera contributed to this report.

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