Monday, July 1, 2013

Fire Update July 1 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:  

July 1, 2013
8:00 pm                      
Special Message:  With the Fourth of July weekend ahead, motorists can expect to see firefighting traffic along Highways 160 and 149.  Please watch your speed.

Tonight will be the last night shift for this fire.  Starting tomorrow, we will publish the daily update once per day at 9 a.m., with Tweet and Blog entries throughout the day.

Current Situation:
East Zone of the West Fork Complex (Includes Papoose and Eastern Part of West Fork Fires) 

Papoose Fire:  Today, crews were able to control four spot fires that started as a result of rolling debris and embers that blew over the fireline from wind gusts that registered up to 49 miles per hour.  Crews also dealt with falling trees in the fire area, creating an unsafe situation for fireline construction.  Two fires started yesterday by spotting from embers, near Red Mountain, were controlled with helicopter drops of water and retardant.  Fire behavior will continue to be extreme, especially with the forecast for continued threat of thunderstorms that include gusty winds.  Firefighters have reinforced structure protection at Spar City and Red Mountain Ranch.  Structure protection is being completed around Bristol Head Acres and Soward Ranch.  Along Highway 149, firefighters were able to burn out above the structures and even out the fire line.  In addition, they have completed mopping up adjacent to structures and have started to patrol the area for additional spot fires.  Tonight, firefighters on night shift will continue to extinguish any hot areas in the northern part of Papoose and patrol in the Red Mountain and Spar City areas.

Eastern Part of West Fork Fire: The eastern part of the West Fork Fire slowed considerably.  Some areas of the fire have not moved in over six days.  Firefighters have completed fireline construction around Humphreys Lake and monitored and extinguished any additional fire progress at Metroz Lake.  Additional fireline was constructed with a dozer, opening up an old road that could be used to access more of the line past Humphreys Lake and around to Elk Mountain.  Along Highway 160, firefighters continued to secure the fire’s edge.  Protection has been established around structures east of Highway 149.  

West Zone of West Fork Complex (Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires)
West Fork Spike Camp was closed today and personnel and equipment have been relocated at the Incident Base at Stevens Airfield in Pagosa Springs.  There is increased traffic, which necessitates caution from the public. As July 4th festivities draws closer, we are requesting visitors and firefighters maintain vigilance in driving safely.

The San Juan National Forest will be at Stage II Fire Restrictions starting July 2. The Archuleta County remains at Stage 1. Additional information can be found on the San Juan National Forest’s website:

Western Part of West Fork Fire/Windy Pass:  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 Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort. The West Fork Campground is open. Crews completed backhauling excess firefighting equipment at Borns Lake, Bruce Spruce and Wolf Creek.  Activity on the Windy Pass Fire today was minimal. 

Weather: Thunderstorms remain in the forecast throughout the rest of the week; however, the chance of wetting rain will deteriorate as temperatures increase. Scattered thunderstorms will bring Northeast winds 10-15 mph, with a 10% chance of rain hitting the ground. Warmer temperatures are expected.
Public Health and Safety:  Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, and Creede, with one monitor yet to be installed at South Fork (on its way).   The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch) and #65 (Pagosa Springs) and can be accessed through the map located at: Times displayed are in GMT – subtract 6 hours to get local time (MDT).  For the official Colorado Smoke Outlook, please 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.  Reduced speed is posted on Highway 160.  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:  Evacuations for several communities in Mineral County have been lifted.  Residents are reminded to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice in the event that fire activity changes.  Visit for a list of areas currently under evacuation or pre-evacuation.  The list will be updated as conditions change.

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

For additional information on road and trail closures affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to:

Fire Information Meetings: None scheduled at this time.

Media Briefings:  There are no scheduled media briefings.  If media are interested in a briefing or interview, please contact the East Zone Information Office at (719) 657-3279 or West Zone Information office at (970) 731-2432.

Fire Statistics:
Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO         
Start Date: 06/05/2013          
Percent Contained: 7%
Cause:  Lightning
Complex Size:  93, 776 acres                                                             
      Windy Pass: 1,417 acres                                                                
      Papoose: 35,842 acres                                                                      
      West Fork: 56,517 acres                                                                                             

Total Personnel: 1,464
Resources Include: 8 Type 1 hand crews, 20 Type 2 hand crews, 82 engines, 5 dozers, 13 water tenders, and overhead personnel

Air Resources:  6 Type 1 helicopters, 4 Type 2 helicopters, and 10 Type 3 helicopters.

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 Del Norte High School. 


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