Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fire Update June 29 PM

West Fork Complex Fire Update

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Pete Blume, Incident Commander     
Phoenix National Incident Management Organization- Curtis Heaton, Incident Commander
Joint Information Center:  719-569-4149 or 719-657-3279
Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
West Zone Email:  

June 29, 2013
8:00 pm                      

Special Message:  Due to the high demand for information about the West Fork Complex, a blog has been created to facilitate posting current and timely fire information.  Visit the blog at

Current Situation:
East Zone of the West Fork Complex (Includes Papoose and Eastern Part of West Fork Fires) 
Rain fell over portions of the zone today.  Accumulations ranged from 0.02 – 0.20 inches.  Although some areas experienced wetting rain, firefighters were cautioned that in the heavy timber the moisture was not reaching the ground.  Single and group tree torching could still occur in areas that received rainfall today.  In addition, many areas received enough precipitation that roads and dozer lines could be slick.

Papoose Fire:  Fire activity was minimal for most of the day.  Around 4:00 pm the east side of the fire became active in the Trout Creek area near Baldy Mountain.  Tonight firefighters will continue structure protection on the east in Trout Creek and the northwest in Crooked Creek. 

Eastern Part of West Fork Fire: Today firefighters continued to structure protection on the north, east, and south flanks of the fire.  The focus of their efforts is to use natural fuel breaks to minimize fire activity.  Tonight firefighters will monitor the fire and provide structure protection.

West Zone of West Fork Complex (Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires)
A change in wind direction and a brief rain today brought little relief on the West Fork Fire on the West Zone.  Air attack has been grounded the last 2 days due to smoke, but will resume tomorrow if conditions allow.  Fire continues to burn in timber that is dead due to Spruce Beetle kill.

Western Part of 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 continued near the Born Lake cabins.  Structure protection is still in place for Bruce Spruce Resort, which is still open, and hose lays and sprinkler system are in place and operational in the West Fork Campground that is also open.

Windy Pass Fire:  Activity on the Windy Pass Fire today was minimal.  Crews completed work around Lane Creek and continue to monitor fire activity there.            

Weather:  A series of thunderstorms passed over the complex today.  Precipitation was localized with some areas of the fire receiving 0.02 inches to 0.20 inches and some not receiving any moisture at all.  Thunderstorms are predicted for the next few days with rain, lightning and winds being the primary concerns.  Winds tomorrow will be out of the Northwest 5-15 mph, with a 60% chance of rain actually hitting the ground.
Public Health and Safety:  Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Del Norte, and Creede.   For the official Colorado Smoke Outlook visit and for further health advisory information.

Please use caution when traveling along Highways 149 and 160.  Heavy fire traffic can be expected along the highways and within the communities of South Fork, Creede, and Del Norte.  Please do not stop along the roads to take pictures of the fire or firefighters as doing so could impede fire operations.

Evacuations and Closures: Yesterday, most residents of South Fork were able to return home.  Anyone west of Highway 149 or the Rio Grande River (whichever is closest to the fire) remain under mandatory evacuation.  This includes Elk Creek and the portion of Masonic Park south and west of the river.  All other evacuations remain in effect.  Those residents who were able to return home were reminded that if fire activity increases, they may have to re-evacuate.  Along Highway 149, traffic is being escorted between Wagon Wheel Gap and Highway 160. 

For additional information on road and trail closures affecting the San Juan National Forest go to: 

Emergency closures in place due to the West Fork Fire Complex currently affect about 50 miles of the Colorado Trail on the Rio Grande National Forest and about 150 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail on both the Rio Grande and San Juan national forests.  These trail sections are closed to all public entry between San Luis Pass north of Creede, Stony Pass east of Silverton and Elwood Pass northeast of Pagosa Springs, as identified within the closure orders.   For more information, contact the Rio Grande National Forest at 719-852-5941.   For additional information on road and trail closures affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to: West Fork Fire Closures.   

Fire Information Meetings:
Del Norte: Daily briefing at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte at 9 am

Media Briefings:  There are no scheduled media briefings.  If media are interested in a briefing or interview, please contact the East Zone Information Office.

Fire Statistics:
Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO             
Start Date: 06/05/2013  
Percent Contained: 2%
Cause:  Lightning
Complex Size:  90,806 acres                                                              
            Windy Pass: 1,411 acres                                             
            Papoose: 33,022 acres                                                            
            West Fork: 56,373 acres                                                                                             
Total Personnel: 1502
Resources Include: 8 Type 1 hand crews, 20 Type 2 hand crews, 109 engines, 5 dozers, 11 water tenders, and overhead personnel

Air Resources:  6 Type 1 helicopters, 3 Type 2 helicopters, 9 Type 3 helicopters, and 2 single engine
airtankers (SEATS)

Places to get information:
Twitter: @rmt1pio
Information Boards:  Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemons Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte. 


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