Bonner evacuation lifted, Hwy. 14 still closed

The first residents evacuated from the Hewlett Fire were told last night that they could return to their homes in the Bonner Peak area, but those whose houses are along Colorado Highway 14 are still locked out and portions of the highway remain closed.

At about 6 p.m. on Thursday, the evacuation of 65 homes in the Bonner Peak area, including Bonner Springs Ranch Road, Obenchain Road, Deer Valley Road and Ingleside Road, was lifted. The evacuation of 15 homes near the North Poudre Diversion Dam between mile markers 113 and 115 is still in effect, Larimer County Undersheriff Bill Nelson announced at a community meeting at Cache la Poudre Middle School. The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at the school, which is also intended to become an information center for members of the community.

Officials plan to release updated information at about 8 a.m. Friday, including the results of an infrared flight to determine the current size of the fire.

The fire, which began Monday afternoon in rugged terrain near the Hewlett Gulch Trailhead about 10 miles west of Ted’s Place, had grown to 7,300 acres by Thursday evening with only about 5 percent containment. Afternoon thunderstorms brought some rain but more erratic winds that grounded aircraft and made fighting the fire more difficult for the nearly 400 personnel on the scene.

Incident Commander Todd Richardson reported that a firing operation along the east flank of the fire along the North Fork of the Poudre River from Seaman Reservoir to Long Draw had been successful. No structures have been burned.

Anyone wanting to get livestock out of harm’s way can take the animals to The Ranch, the Larimer County Fairgrounds Complex in Loveland. Evacuees can take pets to the Larimer Humane Society in Fort Collins.

The U.S. Forest Service’s Hewlett Gulch Trail and Greyrock Trail, Fort Collins’ Gateway Natural Area and Larimer County’s Eagle’s Nest Open Space all remain closed.

More information on the Hewlett Fire can be found at www.inciweb.org/incident/2863/ .

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