RIO GRANDE/MINERAL COUNTY — Burned acreage is slowing while fire fighters continue to makes strides containing the West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF).
On Thursday, incident reports confirmed 25 percent of the massive blaze is now contained, and the fire that has been burning since June 5 grew less than 500 acres in the past 24 hours. Total acreage consumed is now 109,449.
All area evacuations have been lifted, according to the report. Residents, however, should be cautious when returning to their homes because fire crews will continue to work across the fire area, smoke will continue to be seen as interior portions of the fire continue to burn and ash and mud flows are likely as rain moves into the area.
The Rio Grande National Forest has further reduced the size of the fire area closure; Pass Creek Road and Tucker Ponds are now open, according to the report. The Rio Grande is open for boating and fishing from South Fork to Forest Service Road 522 (Fern Creek Road). Forest Service Road 520 to the Rio Grande Reservoir remains closed beyond the junction with Forest Service Road 521.
For additional information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the Rio Grande National Forest visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/.
For additional information on road and trail closures and fire restrictions affecting the San Juan National Forest visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.
WFCF situation, Thursday afternoon, July 11
East Zone of the West Fork Complex
Includes Papoose Fire and eastern part of West Fork Fire
West Fork Fire,
There are minimal areas of heat on this part of the fire. Crews continue to monitor and patrol hot areas of the fire. Ridgetop winds on Thursday should not have influenced the fire. Crews were available for initial attack if needed. Rehabilitation of hand and dozer line continued. Crews also continued to remove sprinklers, hose, and other equipment placed around structures along highway and throughout the fire area.
Scattered interior heat on the fire was monitored; the lines looked good overall. The fire continued to be in monitoring and mop up status. Afternoon west-
southwest winds on ridgetops could have resulted in isolated fire activity. Structure protection remained in place where appropriate.
West Zone of West Fork Complex
Includes western part of West Fork Fire and the Windy Pass Fire
Firefighters diligently maintained the safety practices in the changing weather conditions. Main objectives on Thursday were to continue to patrol and monitor for fire activity and readiness for any new attacks. Weather permitting, aerial monitoring continued.
West Zone West
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.
Smoke monitors have been removed from the fire area. 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.
Location: 14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO
Windy Pass: 1,417 acres
Papoose: 49,465 acres
West Fork: 58,576 acres
Total Personnel: 708
Resources Include: 2 Type-1 hand crews, 10 Type-2 hand crews, 32 engines, 1 dozers, 9 water tenders, 4 camp crews, and 266 overhead personnel. Aircraft includes 4 Type-1 helicopters, 2 Type-2 helicopters, and 3 Type 3-helicopters.