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Fire fight goes on

Posted: Thursday, Jul 11th, 2013

RIO GRANDE/MINERAL COUNTY — It continues to burn, but West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF) responders are learning how to find control.

On Tuesday, the fire was still contained at 19 percent, having burnt 109,100 acres, according to the incident report. A stagnant and strong high pressure over the area maintains warm conditions for the next couple of days. Extended forecast calls for slow moisture return to this region by the weekend.  The daily monsoon patterns are expected to return by Thursday and continue through Sunday.

On July 11, at 8 p.m., the Eastern Great Basin team planned to assume command of the entire complex as the Central Coast team completes their assigned time on the fires, according to the incident report.

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for Rio Grande Reservoir (Forest Road 520) and the Wintz Property, according to the incident report. S Lazy U and Wilderness Ranch have been removed from mandatory evacuation. Spar City remains in pre-evacuation status.

For current evacuation status, contact the local county sheriff.

Information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the San Juan National Forest go to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.

Information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/.

WFCF situation, Wednesday afternoon, July 10


Eastern Zone West Fork Fire

There are minimal areas of heat on this part of the fire. Monitoring and patrol was in place on hot areas of the fire. This fire was not anticipated to be influenced by ridgetop winds this afternoon.  Crews were available for initial attack if needed.

West Zone of West Fork Complex

Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires

Firefighters continued to monitor, patrol and start to haul back excess equipment and trash from the fireline. Main objectives on Tuesday included patrolling and monitoring for fire activity and readiness for any new attacks to assist the San Juan National Forest.  Weather permitting, aerial monitoring and attack continued.

West Zone West Fork Fire

The West Zone of the West Fork fire is the portion of the fire burning south of the continental divide. 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.


Total West Fork Fire acreage: 58,576


Papoose Fire

49,107 acres

Yesterday, scattered interior heat on the fire was monitored, with the lines looking good overall.  The fire will continue to be in monitoring and mop up status.  Afternoon west-southwest winds on ridgetops could have resulted in isolated fire activity on Tuesday.  Structure protection remained in place where appropriate.

Windy Pass Fire

1,417 acres

The eastern side of the fire continues to hold some heat.  Monitoring by air continued today and firefighters continued to patrol and monitor the fire area. A resource advisor from the forest traveled near the fireline to assess firefighting impacts.

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/cgibin/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.

Fire Statistics:

Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs

Start Date: 06/05/2013

Complex Size:  109,100 acres

Percent Contained: 19%

Total Personnel: 708

 Resources Include:  3 Type-1 hand crews, 8 Type-2 hand crews, 36 engines, 2 dozers, 11 water tenders, and 288 overhead personnel.

Air Resources: 5 Type-1 helicopters, 2 Type-2 helicopters, and 3 Type 3-helicopters.


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