As the Hewlett Fire continues to grow, the U.S. Forest Service investigators announced that James J. Weber of Fort Collins, Colorado, has been cited for starting the wildfire, which has spread to cover more than 12 square miles.
Huffington Post reports that the mental health counselor at Colorado State University has been cited with a $300 fine, plus a $25 processing fee for starting the blaze. He will not face criminal charges, because he reprotedly attempted to stamp out the blaze.
The Forest Service will also reportedly seek restitution for the fire, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver on Friday.
According to the Coloradoan, the U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman, Jeff Dorschner, stated on Friday that Weber did not immediately go from the Hewlett Gulch Trail to the Sheriff’s Office. Instead, Dorschner stated:
“He went home and he later, first in person and later by phone, reported that he started the fire to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.”
James J. Weber reportedly started the blaze when a camp stove fell over in the wind, and got out of control. He attempted to stamp it out, but fled when the fire took over. There is no cell phone service in the area where the counselor was camping, leaving him no way to call and alert authorities.
Huffington Post reports that no buildings have been damaged in the Hewlett fire, which has been burning since Monday. The blaze was reportedly 45 percent contained on Saturday morning, and more than 500 firefighters were on the scene, hoping that cool, humid weather would help to further contain the wildfire.