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Western wildfires: Colorado declares emergency in Hewlett blaze

May 18, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • The Hewlett fire burns to the edge of Seaman Reservoir in Poudre Canyon near Ft. Collins, Colo., on Thursday. Hundreds of firefighters worked to combat the growing blaze.
The Hewlett fire burns to the edge of Seaman Reservoir in Poudre Canyon near… (R.J. Sangosti / The Denver…)

The Hewlett fire in Colorado has grown to 7,673 acres, prompting officials Friday to declare an emergency. 

In an executive order, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper declared the emergency because of the fire in Larimer County. The move makes $3 million in state emergency funds available for firefighting.

“The Hewlett 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,” according to the executive order.

The move is the latest in the fight against the Hewlett fire, which was reported Monday afternoon. The fire is about 20 miles from Ft. Collins and is being fought by 391 personnel; more are en route, as is additional equipment such as two heavy air tankers, one heavy helicopter and one light helicopter, officials reported online.

The fire was 5% contained.

Authorities ordered evacuations of about 80 homes near Poudre Canyon on Thursday. Residents of  65 homes were allowed to return but remain on alert to leave again if conditions change.

Meanwhile, officials in Arizona continue fighting four blazes. The fires grew by about 5,000 acres overnight to about 24,000 acres, according to an updated status report. The fires have been growing throughout the week as officials have had to fight low humidity and gusting winds.

Four structures have been destroyed and an evacuation was ordered at Crown King, a historic mining town in Prescott National Forest. The Gladiator fire had the largest percentage growth overnight, adding about 2,700 acres to more than 8,000 acres burning. It was about 5% contained.

The largest fire in Arizona, the Sunflower, grew to almost 15,000 acres. It was listed at 15% contained, an improvement in recent days. The two other fires, Bull Flat and Elwood, were 50% contained.

Sunflower and Bull Flat are in the Tonto National Forest. Ellwood is in eastern Arizona.

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Michael.muskal@latimes.com

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