A RED FLAG warning has again been issued for today. Yesterday the column from the West Fork Fire rose to 30,000 feet and the smoke impacted communities as far away as Pueblo, Colorado. Flame lengths of over 100 feet high were observed. No strong inversions are predicted for this morning so the fires may become active earlier in the day. The total acreage for the West Fork Fire Complex rose from 4070 acres Wednesday morning to 12,710 acres as of 12:30 AM Thursday morning.
West Fork Fire:The fire more than tripled in size yesterday going from 3,879 acres to 12,001 acres today. The West Fork Fire, burning primarily within the Weminuche Wilderness, generated the majority of the smoke that was seen throughout southern Colorado. The fire continued northwest up the West Fork drainage and to the northeast up the Beaver Creek drainage to the Continental Divide, where in many places it ran into rock. Fire spread to the south was minimal and all structures and cabins at Borns Lake were not affected by yesterday’s fire activity.
Windy Pass Fire:The Windy Pass Fire, which had not grown much early in the week, gained over 500 acres yesterday, going from 191 acres to 709 acres. The fire has moved to within ¼ mile of the closest infrastructure at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. The fire is just west of the Continental Divide in an area with sparser vegetation that will allow for some active suppression work by firefighters. Firefighters will attempt to hold the fire south of the Continental Divide and the Wolf Creek Ski Area today. Additional engines have been deployed today to the Ski Area for structure protection to supplement the firefighters already in place. Firefighters will continue to work with Wolf Creek Ski Area on structure protection and mitigation efforts for the area.
Evacuations:The Mineral County Sherriff has issued pre-evacuation orders to residents and visitors on the West Fork Road as well as private landowners in the East Fork drainage area n the south side of Highway 160. A pre-evacuation order does not mean that an evacuation is imminent, however residents and visitors should be prepared to leave within an hour if an evacuation order is issued.
Closures:The East Fork road, beyond the East Fork Campground, is now closed because of the fire emergency. (East Fork CG is still open).
Public Meetings:Community meeting tonight 7:00 PM June 20th, at South Fork Community Center
Maps and photos will be posted on the Archuleta County Emergency information site at: www.acemergency.org as they become available.
Information provided by Public Information Officer Pam Wilson.