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West Fork Fire Complex Update -- June 24, 2013, 8:00 PM







Special Message:


Today members of the Colorado National Guard joined the firefighting effort and will be providing added security and staffing roadblocks.


Current Situation:

Papoose Fire:  Fire activity was primarily on the southeast flank within the Weminuche Wilderness and on the northwest flank near Shotgun Mountain.  To the west of Shotgun Mountain, firefighters worked to improve Forest Road 521 so it can be used as a control line as the fire continues to push to the northwest.  Along the north end, firefighters continued to reduce fuels and provide structure protection along Highway 149.  Aerial resources supported the firefighting operations.


 East Zone of West Fork Fire:  Fire activity was primarily on the northwest in the vicinity of Fisher Mountain.  Firefighters continued to put structure protection measures in place along Highway 149 and near Lake Humphreys and Metroz Lake.  Sprinklers are being placed adjacent to structures and will be used in the event that they become threatened by the fire.   Along Highway 160, firefighters, with the assistance of aerial resources, were able to keep the fire north of the highway.  The dozer line, near Sentinel Peak has been completed and tied into existing roads.  This will provide a line of defense between the fire and the community of South Fork. 


West Zone of West Fork Fire:  The West Zone of the West Fork fire is the portion of the fire burning south of the continental divide. There was not a lot of movement on the south end of fire today though the south west corner continues to have some active burning.  Firefighters are about 90% complete with their work installing a sprinkler system to protect Bruce Spruce Resort and other structures along West Fork Road today and they will be completing and testing the system tomorrow. Structure protection remains in place for Borns Lake.


Windy Pass Fire:  The Windy Pass Fire had some active burning primarily within the existing fire perimeter.  Crews continued to work on contingency lines protecting the Wolf Creek Ski Area and also reinforced the contingency line on the south end from about 3 miles east along East Fork Road to highway 160.  Firefighters continue to protect the Wolf Creek Ski Area.


Weather:  Another Red Flag Warning is in effect today due to low relative humidity, gusty winds, and a Haines Index of 6.  Winds are predicted to be out of the southwest 15-25 mph gusting to 35.  Wind gusts could reach 50 mph on the ridge tops.   Relative humidity will be 11-16 percent, and the Haines Index is 6.  The Haines Index measures the stability and dryness of the air over the fire.  A Haines Index of 6 indicates that there is a high potential for extreme fire behavior, intensity, and growth.


Evacuations and Closures:  No additional closures or evacuations have been issued.  Beginning today at 9:00 am, local traffic from Creede is being escorted between Wagon Wheel Gap and Highway 160.  This is for residents of Creede and those areas not evacuated along Highway 149 near the Papoose Fire.


Highway 160 from the chain-up area to South Fork remains closed.  Visit www.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm for more information.


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: West Fork Fire Closures.


Public Briefing: 

A briefing for evacuees and affected residents will be held daily at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte at 9 am.


A fire information meeting will take place in Creede on Tuesday, June 24 at 2:00 pm at the Creede High School Gynmasium.


A community meeting will be held in Pagosa Springs on Saturday June 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm.


Media Briefings:  Media briefings will be held at 9 am and 9 pm daily at Centennial Park in Del Norte.


Fire Statistics:

Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO              Start Date: 06/05/2013          

Complex Size:  75,150 acres                                                               Percent Contained: 0%

Windy Pass: 1,244 acres                                                          Cause:  Lightning

            Papoose: 20,927 acres                                                             Total Personnel: 1313

            West Fork: 52,979 acres                                                                                             


Resources Include: 7 Type 1 hand crews, 30 Type 2 hand crews, 68 engines, 1 dozer, 14 water tenders, and

overhead personnel

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


Places to get information:


Twitter: Follow the Rocky Mountain IMT at @rmt1pio

Facebook:  The Rocky Mountain IMT has a Facebook page dedicated to thank you's to the firefighters working

on the fire line.  Visit the page at https://www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs.

Information Boards:  Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center.  Information

boards are being constructed and will be going up at Freemons Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office

in Creede, and at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte. 

Photos:   A web album has been created, and we will be uploading photos to http://s1286.photobucket.com/user/WestForkComplex/library/