Friday, July 5, 2013

Fire Update July 5 AM

West Fork Complex Fire Update

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Pete Blume, Incident Commander     
Central Coast Interagency Incident Management Team 7 – Mark Nunez, Incident Commander
East Zone Phone:  719-569-4149
West Zone Phone: 970-731-2432
Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
West Zone Email:

July 5, 2013
9:00 am                      

Special Messages:  A transfer of command will take place from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team (Blume) – Type 1 – to another Type 1 Incident Management Team, Eastern Great Basin (Lund) at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Current Situation:
East Zone of the West Fork Complex (Includes Papoose and Eastern Part of West Fork Fires) 
The strategies for operations on the fire include continuing protection for structures and high value resources, as well as confining the fire to areas where it will not pose a threat to local communities during the remainder of the summer. 

Papoose Fire:  Yesterday, fire activity was minimal, with single trees burning and deep needle litter (duff) continuing to burn.  Over the last few days, Papoose has not seen the moisture that West Fork has.  This has caused continued drying of vegetation.  With increased wind in the afternoons, the potential for fire spreading and spotting is high daily.  Firefighters continue mop up around structures and chipping vegetation that will cause any increased fire hazard.  Helicopters will aid firefighters in keeping any hot areas of the fire from spreading.  The fire continues to be active in the northwest, near the Reservoir, and along Highway 149.  Burn out operations along some of the meadows near Highway 149 is planned again today which will allow firefighters the opportunity to even out the fire line and achieve confinement. 

Eastern Part of West Fork Fire: Firefighters will continue chipping operations around homes where limbs and brush were cleared so fire hazard is reduced.  Firefighters will continue fireline construction through the Elk Mountain area and monitor areas along Highway 160 where fire remains active.

West Zone of West Fork Complex (Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires)
Minimal fire growth occurred on the fire last night.  Firefighters will continue to patrol and monitor the fire and are poised to respond to any new fire starts that may have occurred during the past few days. The fires will continue to be monitored by air.

West Zone West Fork Fire:  There was very little activity last evening.  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.

Windy Pass Fire:  Monitoring by air will continue today as well as Firefighters continue to patrol and monitor the fire area. 

Weather: Moisture will continue to increase Friday and into the weekend.  This will set the stage for scattered showers and thunderstorms.  An increase of widespread precipitation will be Sunday.  Temperatures will be in the mid 70’s with winds from the West to Northwest. Minimal moisture was observed on the fire last evening.
Public Health and Safety:  Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, Creede, and South Fork.  The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch), #25 (South Fork), and #65 (Pagosa Springs).  All monitors 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.  In addition, heavy holiday traffic is expected in the same area, and including Pagosa Springs.  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:  Some communities still remain under evacuation, others on pre-evacuation notice.  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 and fire restrictions affecting the San Juan National Forest go to: 

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

Fire Information Meetings: None scheduled at this time.

Media Briefings:  There are no scheduled media briefings. 

Fire Statistics:
Location:  14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO              Start Date: 06/05/2013          
Complex Size:  110,028 acres                                                             Percent Contained: 20%
Windy Pass: 1,417 acres                                                                        Cause:  Lightning
 Papoose: 48,652 acres                                                                           Total Personnel: 1,169
 West Fork: 59,959 acres                                                                                             
Resources Include: 7 Type 1 hand crews, 11 Type 2 hand crews, 56 engines, 2 dozers, 17 water tenders, and overhead personnel
Air Resources:  6 Type 1 helicopters, 1 Type 2 helicopters, and 5 Type 3 helicopters.

Places to get information:
Twitter: @rmt1pio
Information Boards:  Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemon's Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Del Norte High School. 

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