A cool rainy weekend aided firefighters in getting ahead of the Hewlett Fire burning northwest of Fort Collins that started near the Hewlett Gulch trailhead on Monday. The fire now stands at 7,485 acres, a minor increase from Friday’s reported size. The fire is officially at 87 percent containment, with full containment estimated by Tuesday May 22. 

Almost 600 firefighters were still working on Saturday to extinguish hot spots and build a fireline.

Fighting the fire has cost $2.4 million so far, but that number doesn’t fully account for how much work remains after the flames are out. Forest Service officials are already planning how they’ll rehabilitate the popular trails the fire has burned across.

A special Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation team is being assembled and will begin assessing the trails once the fire area is considered safe for non-firefighters to work in. The team includes specialists in vegetation restoration, soils, water runoff and wildlife.

With attention now turned to the popular Hewlett Gulch and Greyrock trails, it is only a matter of time before we can use them again, but it may be years before they look like they did before Monday. Both trails are expected to remain closed for weeks.