West Fork Complex Fire Update

Phoenix National Incident Management Organization- Curtis Heaton, Incident Commander

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Pete Blume, Incident Commander     

West Zone Information Center:  970-731-2745 or970-731-2432

East Zone Information Center:  719-569-4149

Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm

West Zone Email: westforkfire@gmail.com  

East Zone Email:WestForkFire.EastZone@gmail.com


June 23, 2013

9:00 pm                      



Current Situation:

Papoose Fire:  Activity on the Papoose Fire occurred primarily on the west and northwest flanks.  Firefighters made good progress on evaluating and protecting structures along the northern perimeter of the fire.  On the northeast side, where the fire has burned into the floodplain, firefighters are continuing to hold it south of Highway 149.  A spike camp has been established for the firefighters working on the Papoose Fire in order to reduce travel times. 


East Zone of West Fork Fire:  The majority of the fire activity that was visible today occurred southwest of Metroz Mountain.  This area of the fire started as two fingers that have grown together on the east side.  A large island of unburned vegetation between the fingers burned today.  The smoke plume created by the burning affected local winds, reducing fire activity on the east flank of the fire.  Firefighters made good progress on evaluating and establishing protective measures for structures along Highways 149 and 160.


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. The segment on the south end of the fire that made a run up the backside of Sheep Mountain yesterday turned north today burning back towards the main body of the fire reducing the threat to Highway 160.  Firefighters did a structure protection assessment in the Bruce Spruce Campground along West Fork Road today and are looking at establishing a sprinkler system to protect the structures in that area tomorrow.


Windy Pass Fire:  The Windy Pass Fire made a run up the Lane Creek drainage into the alpine.  It did not cross over into the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Firefighters have been able to hold the Windy Pass Fire within the established indirect containment lines protecting the Wolf Creek Ski Area.


Weather:  This is the fifth day in a row that the complex has been under a Red Flag Warning. Wind gusts reaching 50 mph were reported on the ridgetops with gusts to 35 mph at lower elevations.  Relative humidity was reported in the teens dropping to single digits.  Another Red Flag Warning has been issued for tomorrow.


Evacuations and Closures:  There are multiple evacuations and pre-evacuations in effect for the fire area and vicinity.   For more information on evacuations please check www.acemergency.org


There are multiple road and trail closures.  The primary closures are Highway 160 from the chain-up area to South Fork, and Highway 149 between South Fork and Creede from mile post 1through mile post 22.


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.


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:  70,262 acres                                                              Percent Contained: 0%

Windy Pass: 987 acres                                                            Cause:  Lightning

            Papoose: 19,413 acres                                                             Total Personnel: 895

            West Fork: 49,862 acres