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WFCF: Rain finally falls, roads to reopen

Posted: Friday, Jul 12th, 2013

RIO GRANDE/MINERAL COUNTY — On Thursday night, much of the 109,610-acre, 32 percent contained West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF) received measurable precipitation around two tenths of an inch, mainly north of the Continental Divide of the West Fork Fire and the Papoose Fire, according to the incident report.

Closed roads through the forest were on schedule to reopen yesterday, according to the report. These rural routes include Road 520 to the Rio Grande Reservoir and number in the San Juan National Forest. East Fork Road (FS Road #667) from the East Fork Campground to its eastern terminus at FS Road #380 at Elwood Pass was reopened along with the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (FS Trail #813) from the East Fork Road at Elwood Pass north and west to its junction with Highway 160 will be reopened and the Silver Creek Trail (FS Trail #567), which starts off the East Fork Road, was reopened. 

For additional 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. 

The Great Basin Incident Management Team 1 took control of both the East and West Zones of the fire on Thursday night at 8 p.m.

The fire information team posted final fire information updates and maps at the over 80 businesses and government offices in Lake City, Creede, Monte Vista, South Fork, Del Norte and Pagosa Springs, according to the report.

West Fork Fire

North of the

Continental Divide

There are minimal areas of heat on this part of the fire. Monitoring and patrol continued on hot areas of the fire.  Ridge top winds were not anticipated to influence the fire on Friday afternoon. Crews were available for initial attack if needed. 

Increasing monsoon moisture that began midweek continued to move across the area, and will keep up through the weekend and into early next week. Firefighters will continue to monitor, patrol and start to haul back excess equipment and trash from the fire line. 

Main objectives were patrolling and monitoring for fire activity and readiness for any new fires to assist both national forests.  Weather permitting, aerial monitoring and initial attack continued.

West Fork Fire South of the Continental Divide

As fire activity is low and if weather conditions continued to remain favorable, firefighters worked to clean up the local area.  By the end of yesterday’s shift, it was anticipated that all equipment, flagging and signage would have been recovered from the fire lines and surrounding areas. 

This equipment will be returned for rehabilitation and ready for use on the next incident.  

Firefighters continued to patrol the fires are available for Initial Attack as needed.  

The West Fork Campground is open.

Total West Fork Fire acreage: 58,570 acres

Papoose Fire

49,628 acres                                                            

Continued scattered interior heat on the fire is being monitored, while the lines looked good overall. The fire continued to be in monitoring and mop up status. Afternoon west-southwest winds on ridge tops could have resulted in isolated fire activity. Structure protection remained in place where appropriate. Thursday night’s rainfall estimated at two tenths of an inch might produce small ash flows in drainages.

Additionally, a new lighting strike fire was spotted near Humphries above the 4U R Ranch, which fire crews already assigned to the complex quickly located and contained.

Windy Pass Fire

1,417 acres                                                         

Eastern side of the fire continues to hold some heat. Air monitoring continued on Friday, 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: 

Expect to see smoke across parts of the fire for the next several days to weeks.  The past couple of days smoke has been noted coming from the East Fork of Trout Creek, and settling down into the valley below.

For the Colorado Smoke Outlook, visit http://www.colorado.gov/air quality/colo_advisory.aspx or http://www.colorado.gov/air quality/wildfire.aspx for more information.

Resources Include:  1 Type-1 hand crew, 10 Type-2 hand crews, 24 engines, 1 dozers, 7 water tenders, and 220 overhead personnel.

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

Total Personnel: 623

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