Firefighters access water for operations on Highway 149 last week.The remains of the Rio Grande National Forest above Big Meadows Reservoir.
Courier photos by Lauren Krizansky
RIO GRANDE/MINERAL COUNTY — West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF) fighting efforts continue to calm the burn that still causes a threat.
Despite rainfall over the weekend, the Papoose Fire, which crept very near the Rio Grande Reservoir on Monday, is expected to continue with “extreme” behavior, according to incident reports. Yesterday, crews focused on the northwest side of the fire. They secured fire line near Crooked Creek down to the reservoir, keeping the fire east of Squaw Creek. Firefighters used water or retardant drops to support construction of new line.
On the southeast flank, the fire is expected to increase in activity this afternoon in the Trout Creek drainage, according to incident reports. Firefighters reinforced structure protection at Spar City and Red Mountain Ranch. Along Highway 149, firefighters mopped up adjacent to structures.
Eastern Part of West Fork Fire
On Sunday, the north part of the fire reported 0.20 inches of precipitation in the area, according to reports. Firefighters took advantage of the precipitation by securing line at Lake Humphreys and in the Elk Mountain area. Firefighters continued direct attack on that piece of fire line with the aid of water or retardant drops.
Along Highway 160, firefighters continued to secure the fire’s edge, according to incident reports. Protection was around structures east of Highway 149.
West Zone of West Fork Complex
(Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires)
West Fork Spike Camp was established to support the firefighting activities was closed down yesterday, according to incident reports. All personnel and equipment was transferred to the Incident Base at Stevens Airfield in Pagosa Springs.
Western Part of West Fork Fire/Windy Pass
The West Zone of the West Fork fire is the portion of the fire burning south of the continental divide, according to incident reports. Structure protection is still in place for Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins and Bruce Spruce Resort, which is still open, and hose lays and sprinkler systems are in place and operational in the West Fork Campground, which is also open. Crews started to backhaul the excess firefighting equipment at Borns Lake, Bruce Spruce and Wolf Creek.
Activity on the Windy Pass Fire yesterday was minimal, according to incident reports. A resource advisor was on the fire line Sunday to assess the landscape and to begin developing a rehabilitation plan.
Public Health and Safety
Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch and Creede. The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch) and #65 (Pagosa Springs) and can be accessed through the map located at: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl. Visit http://www.colorado.gov/air quality/colo_advisory.aspx and http://www.colorado.gov/air quality/wildfire.aspx for further health advisory information. Use caution when traveling along Highways 149 and 160. Heavy fire traffic can be expected along the highways and within the communities of South Fork, Creede, and Del Norte. Do not stop along the roads to take pictures
of the fire or firefighters as doing so could impede fire operations.
Evacuations for several communities in Mineral County have been lifted. Residents are reminded to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice in the event that fire a ctivity changes. Visit http://westforkfirecomplex.blogspot.com/ for a list of areas currently under evacuation or pre-evacuation. The list will be updated as conditions change. For additional information on road and trail closures affecting the San Juan National Forest go to:http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices. For additional information on road and trail closures affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to:http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/notices/?cid=STELPRDB5143145.
Fire Information Meetings
The Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte closed Monday. Information meetings that had taken place at the shelter will no longer be held. Visit www.redcross.org/Colorado or contact your local Red Cross office for further information regarding the services they provide.
14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO
93, 776 acres
Windy Pass: 1,417 acres
Papoose: 35,842 acres
Total Personnel: 1508
West Fork: 56,517 acres
9 Type 1 hand crews, 21 Type 2 hand crews, 84 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, andoverhead personnel
6 Type 1 helicopters, 4 Type 2 helicopters, 10 Type 3 helicopters, and 2 single engineairtankers (SEATS)
Places to get information:Blog:
Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemons Ranchnear Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Del Norte High School.