NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hewlett Fire Threatens Greeley's Milton Seaman Reservoir

Milton Seaman Reservoir was built in 1941.
City of Greeley
Milton Seaman Reservoir was built in 1941.

The Hewlett Fire spanning more than 7,600 acres northwest of Fort Collins has reached the western edge of Greeley’s Milton Seaman Reservoir. The City of Greeley is not currently pulling water from the reservoir.

Jon Monson, the Director of Water and Sewer for the city, says the Milton Seaman Reservoir has been closed for several months due to repair work on its operating gates.

Greeley has been relying on Boyd Lake, Horsetooth Reservoir and the Poudre River for its water supply.

With the Hewlett Fire burning nearby, Monson says the water quality could be compromised at Milton Seaman Reservoir and/or the Poudre River.

 “Generally you do not have a problem until you get a rain storm or something that begins to wash the ash and debris into the reservoir. At the moment, the gates to the reservoir are closed so we are not taking water from that particular reservoir.”

If the water quality is compromised, the reservoir could be out of commission for a while.

“Milton Seaman is one of the primary winter reservoirs. It’s our reservoir we keep full or at least try to keep full for drought protection and filling that up with debris would be a problem for Greeley.”

Until the fire is contained, the city won’t be able to test the water quality of reservoir. Currently firefighters are pulling from the Milton Seaman Reservoir to battle the Hewlett fire.

The reservoir is 5,000 acre feet. Monson says firefighters won't pull enough to drain the supply.

“They’re taking out maybe a thousand or 2-thousand gallons at a time. It’s pretty minuscule compared to the amount of water in the reservoir."

This isn't the first time Milton Seaman has stepped up to fight a wildfire, fire crews also pulled water in 2004 as they battled the Picnic Rock Fire.

My journalism career started in college when I worked as a reporter and Weekend Edition host for WEKU-FM, an NPR member station in Richmond, KY. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.
Related Content