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This is the current status of the West Fork Complex fires, on July 4, 2013.
East Zone of the West Fork Complex (Includes Papoose and Eastern Part of West Fork fires):
The strategies for operations on the fire include continuing protection for structures and high value resources, as well as confining the fire to areas where it will not pose a threat to local communities during the remainder of the summer.
Papoose Fire: Yesterday, fire activity increased in the southeast corner of Papoose, spreading in areas of beetle-killed spruce and old logging slash. Smoke and ash were observed in Pagosa Springs. Sustained winds at 20 miles per hour, from the north and northwest, pushed the fire into Copper Creek, west of Red Mountain Ranch. The fire was burning deep into the interior and was not a threat to structures. Similar weather and extreme fire behavior is expected again today. As long as the fire continues to burn in these stands of dead spruce, smoke will be more typical. Falling trees in some areas of the fire continue to create an unsafe situation and firefighters are avoiding those areas. Burn out operations along some of the meadows near Colo. 149 is planned again today which will allow firefighters the opportunity to even out the fire line and achieve confinement.
Eastern Part of West Fork Fire: Firefighters will continue chipping operations around homes where limbs and brush were cleared so fire hazard is reduced. Firefighters will continue fireline construction through the Elk Mountain area and monitor areas along U.S.160 where fire remains active.
West Zone of West Fork Complex (Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass fires)
Incident Commander Mark Nunez Type 2 Central Coast IMT 7 assumed command of the West Fork Fire West Zone this morning at 6 a.m.
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. Crews completed backhauling excess firefighting equipment at Born’s Lake, Bruce Spruce and Wolf Creek.
Windy Pass Fire: Firefighters continue to patrol and monitor the fire area. Forest Service Resource Advisor is continuing to monitor Firefighting efforts in coordination for watershed conservation.
Weather: Isolated thunderstorms are forecasted, with winds from the northwest. Increased moisture will slightly improve chances for wetting rains. True monsoonal moisture still appears most likely to arrive at the end of next week, which is near average timing for southern Colorado.
A smoke monitors is in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, Creede, and South Fork. The monitor is identified as #65 (Pagosa Springs). All monitors can be accessed through the map located at www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl. Times displayed are in GMT — subtract six hours to get local time (MDT). For the official Colorado Smoke Outlook, visit http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx and http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx for further health advisory information.
Use caution when traveling along Colo. 149 and U.S. 160. Heavy fire traffic can be expected along the highways and within the communities of South Fork, Creede, and Del Norte. In addition, heavy holiday traffic is expected in the same area, and including Pagosa Springs. Do not stop along the roads to take pictures of the fire or firefighters as doing so could impede fire operations.
For information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the San Juan National Forest go to www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.
For additional information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande.
Location: 14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs.
Start Date: 06/05/2013 .
Complex Size: 106,637 acres.
Percent Contained: 16 percent.
Total Personnel: 1,234.
Windy Pass: 1,417 acres.
Papoose: 48,652 acres.
West Fork: 56,568 acre.s
Resources Include: seven Type 1 hand crews, 15 Type 2 hand crews, 62 engines, three dozers, 13 water tenders, and overhead personnel.
Air resources: four Type 1 helicopters, one Type 2 helicopters, and three Type 3 helicopters.
Places to get information: