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New team assumes command of West Fork Complex; fires now 109,100 acres, 19 percent contained

The following is the West Fork Fire Complex update for July 10, at 9 a.m.

Special Messages:  A community meeting will be held tonight, July 10, in Creede, from 6-7 p.m.  Members of the incident management team and local officials will give a fire update and address local concerns from citizens. The meeting is at the Creede High School, located at 308 La Garita Street (map: http://Google/CreedeHighSchool).

On July 11, at 8 p.m., the Eastern Great Basin team will assume command of the entire complex as the Central Coast team completes their assigned time on the fires.

Current Situation

East Zone of the West Fork Complex (includes Papoose Fire and Eastern Part of West Fork Fires):

The relative humidity will be slightly increased today. There will be a chance for isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Winds are expected to be 8-12 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph.  The extended outlook includes the chance for scattered thunderstorms over the next few days.

Papoose Fire:  Scattered interior heat on the fire are being monitored, while the lines look good overall.  The fire will continue to be in monitoring and mop-up status.  Afternoon west-southwest winds on ridgetops could result in isolated fire activity.  Structure protection will remain in place where appropriate.

Eastern Zone West Fork Fire:  There are minimal areas of heat on this part of the fire.  Monitoring and patrol will be in place on hot areas of the fire.  This fire is not anticipated to be influenced by ridgetop winds this afternoon.  Crews will be available for initial attack if needed.

West Zone of West Fork Complex (includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires):

A stagnant and strong high pressure over the area maintains warm conditions for the next couple of days.  Extended forecast calls for slow moisture return to this region by the weekend.  The daily monsoon patterns are expected to return Thursday through Sunday.

Firefighters will continue to monitor, patrol and start to haul back excess equipment and trash from the fireline.  Main objectives today will be continuing to patrol and monitor for fire activity and readiness for any new attacks to assist the San Juan National Forest.  Weather permitting, aerial monitoring and attack will continue.

West Zone West Fork Fire:  The West Zone of the West Fork fire is the portion of the fire burning south of the continental divide. Structure protection is still in place for the Wolf Creek Ski Area, Born’s Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort.  The West Fork Campground is open.

Windy Pass Fire:  Eastern side of the fire continues to hold some heat.  Monitoring by air will continue today, and firefighters will continue to patrol and monitor the fire area.  A resource advisor from the forest will be traveling near the fireline to assess firefighting impacts.

Williams Creek Contingency Group: Firefighters will continue structure protection and  patrol  for new starts.

Public Health and Safety:

Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, Creede, and South Fork.  The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch), #25 (South Fork), and #65 (Pagosa Springs).  All monitors can be accessed through the map located at: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl.  Times displayed are in GMT — subtract 6 hours to get local time (MDT). For the Colorado Smoke Outlook, visit http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx or http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx for more information.

Evacuations and Closures:

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for Rio Grande Reservoir (Forest Road 520) and the Wintz Property.    S Lazy U and Wilderness Ranch have been removed from mandatory evacuation. Spar City remains in pre-evacuation status.  For current evacuation status, contact your local county sheriff.

Additional information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the San Juan National Forest is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.

Additional information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the Rio Grande National Forest is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/.

Fire Statistics:

Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs.

Start Date: 06/05/2013.

Cause:  Lightning.

Complex Size:  109,100 acres.

West Fork: 58,576 acres.

Windy Pass: 1,417 acres .

Papoose: 49,107 acres.

Containment: 19 percent.

Total Personnel: 708

Resources Include:  3 Type-1 hand crews, 8 Type-2 hand crews, 36 engines, 2 dozers, 11 water tenders, and 288 overhead personnel.

Air Resources: 5 Type-1 helicopters, 2 Type-2 helicopters, and 3 Type 3-helicopters.

For more information:

Blog:  http://westforkfirecomplex.blogspot.com/

Website: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3436/

Twitter: @RioGrandeUSFS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreatBasin

Photos: http://s1286.photobucket.com/user/WestForkComplex/library/

This story was posted on July 10, 2013.