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West Fork Fire grows to 2,500 acres, new closures announced

Weather today will again be a major factor for both the West Fork and Windy Pass fires.

An infrared flight last night shows the West Fork Fire had grown from 1,747 acres yesterday to over 2,500 acres by last night. The Windy Pass Fire did not have much wind on it yesterday and only increased in acreage from 108 to 129 acres.  Currently 220 are people assigned to the complex.

West Fork Fire: The winds aligned yesterday to push the fire to the northeast, up the Beaver Creek drainage, and it is now positioned around Elk Creek.  Firefighters were seeing some extreme fire behavior with embers traveling up to a mile ahead of the main fire.  Firefighters continued to employ helicopters to cool the south flank of the fire and to catch any small spot fires.  Today, firefighters will evaluate and reinforce structure protection efforts near Born’s Lake.

Windy Pass Fire: The Windy Pass fire is sitting in a deep bowl of large standing dead spruce which is unsafe for firefighters to access and build direct line around. Today, the firefighting effort will be focused on helicopters dropping water to cool the fire while fire managers develop a strategy and tactics for containing the fire within an area that firefighters can safely manage. Some structure protection measures will begin at Wolf Creek Ski Area in the event the fire makes a move out of the bowl towards the ski area. The Windy Pass fire is southwest of Wolf Creek Pass and east of the Treasure Mountain Trail.

New closures

Due to anticipated fire growth several roads and trails in the area have been closed.

Roads:  Falls Creek Road (NFSR 039) and Wolf Creek Road (NSFR 725) (and all spur roads) on the south side of U.S. 160.

Trails:

• West Fork Trail, also known as Rainbow Hot Springs Trail No. 561.

• Treasure Mountain Trail No. 565.

• Windy Pass Trail No. 566.

• Continental Divide Trail from its junction with the Middle Fork Trail (No. 589) east to Piedra Pass and south to its junction with the East Fork Road (NFSR 667) at Elwood Pass on the Rio Grande National Forest.

• Lobo Overlook (at the top of Wolf Creek Pass).

Forest Service campgrounds at West Fork and East Fork remain open as do the private campgrounds in the West Fork area.

This story was posted on June 17, 2013.