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Two wildfires burning on the Pagosa Ranger District

SUN photo/Terri House Pagosans woke Friday morning to find an abundance of smoke in the area. The smoke, produced by two wildfires currently burning in the Pagosa Ranger District, is seen here near sunrise at the base of the Divide northeast of Pagosa Springs.

SUN photo/Terri House
Pagosans woke Friday morning to find an abundance of smoke in the area. The smoke, produced by two wildfires currently burning in the Pagosa Ranger District, is seen here near sunrise at the base of the Divide northeast of Pagosa Springs.

The West Fork Fire, started by lightning on June 5, is now approximately 150 acres in size.

Fuel loading, topography and outflow winds from thunderstorms in the area contributed to the increase in size late yesterday afternoon into the evening.

The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain approximately half a mile from the West Fork Trailhead. The fire reached the northwest corner of private property at Borns Lake yesterday evening. If needed, firefighters are on scene to provide structure protection to cabins and outbuildings on the private property.  There has been no damage to private property or loss of structures.

Two Type 2 hand crews, two Type 2 helicopters and one Type 3 helicopter have been ordered in addition to the 10-person hand crew, Type 6 engine and Type 3 incident commander that arrived yesterday afternoon.

Photo courtesy Pagosa Ranger District This view of the West Fork Fire taken Thursday from a vantage point on  U.S. 160, across the Bootjack Ranch property, shows a plume of smoke rising near the West Fork Trailhead.

Photo courtesy Pagosa Ranger District
This view of the West Fork Fire taken Thursday from a vantage point on U.S. 160, across the Bootjack Ranch property, shows a plume of smoke rising near the West Fork Trailhead.

Smoke will be visible from U.S. 160, and nighttime smoke is expected to settle into the West Fork area. More information on smoke impacts can be found at the state website, http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx.

For public and firefighter safety, the West Fork Trail (561) will be closed. Information on the official closure order will be posted in a later news release.

The Windy Pass Fire, estimated at five acres, started yesterday from lightning.  The fire is approximately 12 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs near the Windy Pass Trail (566). Crews are hiking into the fire this morning.

New information will be posted on the Archuleta County Emergency information site www.acemergency.org.

This story was posted on June 14, 2013.