West Fork Fire Complex Update

June 24, 2013

10:00 am                    


Special Message: An air quality monitor has been set up in Del Norte.  The monitor is used to measure the effects of the smoke in the area.  The readings the monitor takes can be viewed athttp://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/rawMAIN.pl?idsmf1.  Documents explaining the readings will be posted on Inciweb athttp://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3436/.


Current Situation:

Papoose Fire:  Yesterday the fire continued to back down towards Highway 149.  Firefighters were successful in keeping the fire from impacting structures, and to date no confirmed structures have been damaged or destroyed. Today firefighters will continue structure protection along the northern perimeter of the Papoose Fire and north along Highway 149 in the event that the fire pushes to the north.  On the northwest side, the fire has slopped over the Rio Grande Reservoir Road (FSR 520).  Additional resources have been assigned to this area in an effort to keep the fire from moving north.


East Zone of West Fork Fire:  Today firefighters, with assistance from air resources, will continue to work along Highway160 to keep the fire in check as it moves towards the highway.  A dozer line has been created between the eastern edge of the fire and the community of South Fork.  Firefighters will work to improve and reinforce the line today.  Along Highway 149, firefighters will continue to clear vegetation and provide structure protection to structures west of the highway.  East of Highway 149 near South Fork, structure protection is in place in the event that the fire pushes to the east and spots across the highway.  To date no confirmed structures have been damaged or destroyed in this zone.


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 turned north yesterday burning back towards the main body of the fire.  There is still concern that burning in this area could move to the west posing a threat to Highway 160.  Firefighters did a structure protection assessment in the Bruce Spruce Campground along West Fork Road yesterday and will be establishing a sprinkler system to protect the structures in that area today.  Structure protection remains in place for Borns Lake.


Windy Pass Fire:  The Windy Pass Fire made a run in the Lane Creek drainage but it did not gain much in acreage since a good portion of the fire activity was within the existing fire perimeter. The fire went from 987 acre yesterday to 1,244 acres this morning.  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:  Another Red Flag Warning is in effect today due to low relative humidity, gusty winds, and a Haines Index of 6.  Winds are predicted to be out of the southwest 15-25 mph gusting to 35. Wind gusts could reach 50 mph on the ridge tops.   Relative humidity will be 11-16 percent, and the Haines Index is 6.  The Haines Index measures the stability and dryness of the air over the fire.  A Haines Index of 6 indicates that there is a high potential for extreme fire behavior, intensity, and growth.


Evacuations and Closures:  No additional closures or evacuations have been issued. Beginning today at 9:00 am, local traffic from Creede is being escorted between Wagon Wheel Gap and Highway 160.  This is for residents of Creede and those areas not evacuated along Highway 149 near the Papoose Fire.


Highway 160 from the chain-up area to South Fork remains closed.  Visitwww.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm for more information.


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:  75,150 acres                                                              Percent Contained: 0%

Windy Pass: 1,244 acres                                                          Cause: Lightning

            Papoose: 20,927 acres                                                             Total Personnel: 895

            West Fork: 52,979 acres                                                                                            


Resources Include:4 Type 1 hand crews, 21 Type 2 hand crews, 50 engines, 10 water tenders, and overhead


Air Resources: 3 Type 1 helicopters, 2 Type 2 helicopters, and 4 Type 3 helicopters


Places to get information:

Website: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3436/

Twitter:Follow the Rocky Mountain IMT at@rmt1pio

Facebook: The Rocky Mountain IMT has a Facebook page dedicated to thank you’s to the firefighters working

on the fire line. Visit the page athttps://www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs.

Information Boards: Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center. Information

boards are being constructed and will be going up at Freemons Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office

in Creede, and at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte. 

Photos:   A web album has been created, and we will be uploading photos tohttp://s1286.photobucket.com/user/WestForkComplex/library/