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West Fork Fire progresses, engines ready in South Fork

Photo Courtesy Mike Blakeman, RGNF A view of the West Fork Complex Fires from the east side of Wolf Creek Pass on June 20.

Photo Courtesy Mike Blakeman, RGNF
A view of the West Fork Complex Fires from the east side of Wolf Creek Pass on June 20.

The West Fork Fire continues to move toward South Fork, beginning the day seven miles from the town, where mandatory evacuations are in place.

As of 2 p.m., Penny Bertram, spokeswoman for the West Fork Fire Complex, reported that the fire is now a “couple” miles from South Fork. The fire continues to progress northeast, and is burning southwest of South Fork.

Air crews have created a wet line with retardant parallel to U.S. 160, with hand crews working to reinforce that line.

Additionally, an entire division, including county, state and federal engine crews, are working to create a fire line parallel to Colo. 149.

Fire behavior is expected to be extreme today, with conditions similar to yesterday, creating an ideal situation for rapid fire spread. The fire ran seven miles on Thursday.

Crews are working to do everything possible to prepare for any runs, said Penny Bertram, fire spokeswoman.

For specific evacuation information, call the Hinsdale County Sheriff at (719) 657-4000.

The Windy Pass Fire has remained much the same today, and indirect containment lines are in place. A helicopter is making bucket drops on the fire.

A public fire information meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, at the Ross Aragon Community Center in Pagosa Springs.

UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: Air Tankers have been able to fly today and have been dropping retardant on the fire.  They have been working on the northeast end of the fire attempting to cool the fire and slow the spread of the fire toward the the town of South Fork.  In the town of South Fork there are over 36 engines from all over Colorado ready to provide protection for the town of South Fork.

Power has been turned off in the following areas near South Fork:

  • All of Wolf Creek Pass from the east, including the Ski Area
  • Ponderosa
  • Sentinel
  • Dear Park
  • Elk Creek Ranch
  • Masonic Park
  • Riverside
  • Legion Park

This was done to aid mitigation efforts now and fire fighting efforts when the fire arrives.


This story was posted on June 21, 2013.