Southwest Colorado Fire Update - June 15, 2013, 6:00 PM

Both the West Fork and Windy Pass Fires saw significant growth this afternoon as Red Flag conditions and thundercells moved over the area. An infrared flight tonight will confirm the perimeter and size of the fires. There are approximately 65 people working each fire.

SUN photo/Terri House  West Fork Fire. SUN photo/Terri House
West Fork Fire.

West Fork Fire:  The fire made a significant push northward in the Weminuche Wilderness today and is burning at the junction of West Fork Trail and Beaver Creek; the fire has spotted to the east side of the West Fork Trail near Beaver Creek. Firefighters were able to make good progress with their structure protection efforts near Borns Lake. The Type 1 helicopter continued with water drops along the southern flank.

SUN photo/Terri House Windy Pass Fire SUN photo/Terri House Windy Pass Fire

Windy Pass Fire:  The fire made several runs early in the day as it reached pockets of dead and down fuel.  A Type 2 helicopter made water drops today to help control the spread of the fire. A Type 3 Incident Commander has been brought in to manage the fire and will be supported by overhead on the Type 3 Team managing the West Fork Fire. The fire was estimated at 40 acres around 11 AM.

Smoke settled into the West Fork area and Pagosa Springs overnight, but skies had cleared by mid-morning. For those bothered by the smoke, more information on smoke impacts can be found on the state website,

For public and firefighter safety, the West Fork Trail (561) remains closed up to Piedra Pass. New trail and road closures are anticipated Sunday once the perimeters of the fire have been ascertained.

Though smoke from the fires is visible from Wolf Creek Pass and Highway 160, it did not impact the highway today. Smoke is likely to settle into the towns of Pagosa Springs and South Fork tonight but should lift by mid-morning.

Forest Service campgrounds at West Fork and East Fork are both open as are the private campgrounds in the West Fork area.

Maps and photos will be posted on the Archuleta County Emergency information site

Red Creek Fire:  Was called 100% contained at 6:20 tonight. Firefighters will stay on scene tonight and continue with mop-up and some water drops tomorrow as needed.