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Dry weather anticipated to increase WFCF activity

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2013

The Papoose Fire burns on Highway 149.

RIO GRANDE/MINERAL COUNTY — As weather conditions become drier and warmer, the Papoose Fire burning north of Creede is likely to become more active, increasing the intensity of the West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF), according to the Tuesday incident report.

Steep and inaccessible terrain and beetle-killed timber make it unsafe for firefighters to use direct attack tactics on the 49.056-acre Papoose Fire, according to the report. Falling snags are an additional safety hazard. Helicopter water drops continue to assist ground forces in cooling off hot spots and slowing fire growth on the northwest side and on the southeast flank. The remainder of the northeast side is in patrol and monitoring status, with structure protection in place where appropriate.

A community meeting is schedules for tonight in Creede at the high school from 6-7 p.m. to give a fire update and address any questions from citizens.

With monsoon rains expected soon, there might be an increased risk of flash flooding, debris flows and other impacts within and downstream of the burned areas, according to the report. Residents and visitors are urged to stay aware of their surroundings during rain events and do not drive or walk through areas that have flooded.

WFCF situation, Tuesday morning

Eastern Part of

West Fork Fire

There is minimal activity on this portion of the complex.  A small spot fire was found on Monday, and was contained at one-fourth of an acre with the use of water drops from a helicopter.

West Zone of West Fork Complex

Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires

Firefighters will be diligent maintaining the safety practices in these changing weather conditions.  Main objectives today will be continuing to patrol and monitor for fire activity and readiness for any new attacks.  Weather permitting, aerial monitoring will continue. Structure protection is still in place for the Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort.  The West Fork Campground is open.

Windy Pass Fire

Eastern side of the fire continues to hold some heat.  Monitoring by air will continued on Tuesday and firefighters continued to patrol and monitor the

fire area. 

Public Health and Safety

Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, Creede, and South Fork.  The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch), #25 (South Fork), and #65 (Pagosa Springs).  All monitors can be accessed through the map located at: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl.  Times displayed are in GMT – subtract 6 hours to get local time (MDT).  For the Colorado Smoke Outlook, visit http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx or http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx for more information.

Evacuations and Closures

On Monday, several additional communities were removed from Mandatory Evacuation areas. Spar City remains in a Pre-Evacuation Status.  Wirtz Property, Rio Grande Reservoir (Forest Road 520), S Lazy U/Wilderness Ranch, Hermit Lakes all remain under a Mandatory Evacuation.

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