Fort Collins man cited for starting Hewlett Fire

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DENVER, Colo. — Authorities say a Fort Collins man accidentally started the Hewlett Fire while trying to stomp out a smaller blaze sparked by a camp stove.

The U.S. Forest Service has cited James Weber under the Code of Fire Regulations for “causing timber, trees, slash, brush or grass to burn except as authorized by permit,” the Department of Justice announced Friday.

He faces a $300 fine and a $25 processing fee, plus possible restitution for the firefighting costs.

According to U.S. Forest Service investigators, Weber was camping on the Hewlett Gulch Trail in Poudre Canyon and was using a camp stove fueled by alcohol. 

On Monday, that stove ignited a fire at the campsite.

“Weber attempted to stomp out the fire, but was unsuccessful,” the U.S. Forest Service said. “He fled as the fire spread. Weber later reported that he started the fire to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.”

Weber was unable to report the fire from the campsite due to a lack of cell phone service, prosecutors said.

As of Friday, the Hewlett Fire had burned at least 7,600 acres 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins.

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