West Fork Fire Update: June 28 at 8 a.m.

Public Information

Please do not call 911 unless it is an actual emergency. If you have questions about the status of the West Fork Complex, please contact the Joint Information Center at the following numbers:

Joint Information Center: 719-569-4149 or719-657-3279
Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
West Zone Email: westforkfire@gmail.com
East Zone Email: WestForkFire.EastZone@gmail.com

The following fire information meetings will be held over the next several
  • Del Norte: Daily briefing at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte at 9 am
  • Pagosa Springs: Saturday June 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm at the Community Center



Smoke monitors are in place in Del Norte and Creede. For the official Colorado Smoke Outlook visit http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx and http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx for further health advisory information.

Current Situation


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


Papoose Fire

On the northwest flank, the fire continues to be active in Crooked Creek. Late yesterday, several spot fires of 5 – 20 acres developed in the Hermit Lakes area. Due to the extreme fire behavior, firefighters were pulled off the line temporarily. Once fire activity tempered, firefighters returned to the area and began suppressing the spot fires. No known structures were lost during this time. Today,
firefighters will continue to provide structure protection in this area and evaluation of structures to the north.

Yesterday afternoon, a series of thunderstorms moved into the area. The wind shift that accompanied the storms pushed the fire to the southeast into Trout Creek. Extreme fire behavior moved the fire approximately four miles in under two hours. The power was shut off to the residences in Trout
Creek as a result of the fire activity. Firefighters were able to burn out around the structures, successfully protecting all of them. At the time of this release there are no known structures lost as a result of yesterday’s fire activity. This morning firefighters will reinforce structure protection efforts in anticipation of another active burning day.


Eastern Part of West Fork Fire

The fire continues to be active near Metroz Lake and Elk Mountain on the east side. At Lake Humphreys and Metroz Lake, firefighters continue to provide structure protection. Near Elk Mountain, firefighters are utilizing a combination of hand line, dozer line, hose lays, and aircraft as delaying tactics to slow the progression of the fire as it moves towards a more defensible position on the lower slopes.


West Zone of West Fork Complex (Includes Western Part of West Fork and Windy Pass Fires)

A change in wind direction and an inversion brought heavy smoke into the San Juan River Valley and Pagosa Springs area yesterday evening. The inversion that is holding the smoke close to the ground should lift late this morning allowing the smoke to disperse. A shift in wind direction coming from the south will also aid in smoke dispersion.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is installing a portable tower at the Durango Airport due to the volume of aircraft flying in the area in support of the fires.


Western Part of West Fork Fire

The West Zone of the West Fork fire is the portion of the fire burning south of the continental divide. There was a run of about 1 mile yesterday afternoon in beetle-killed spruce on the west flank of the fire in the Weminuche wilderness that put up a column during the day. It was well within the wilderness boundary and did not pose any threats. Structure protection is in place for Bruce Spruce Resort, which is still open, and mitigation measures have been taken in the West Fork Campground that is also open.


Windy Pass Fire

Activity on the Windy Pass Fire yesterday was minimal. Crews will be re-enforcing and maintaining existing contingency lines during the day today.



A Red Flag Warning has been issued today for dry thunderstorms. Storms with lightning and gusty winds will be the primary concerns. Winds from the north at 5-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph are predicted. Gusts up to 40 mph are predicted with the thunderstorms. The Haines Index is 6 which
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. Along Highway 149, traffic is being escorted between Wagon Wheel Gap and Highway 160. Highway 160 from the chain-up area to South Fork remains closed. Visit www.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm for more information.

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

Emergency closures in place due to the West Fork Fire Complex currently affect about 50 miles of the Colorado Trail on the Rio Grande National Forest and about 150 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail on both the Rio Grande and San Juan national forests. These trail sections
are closed to all public entry between San Luis Pass north of Creede, Stony Pass east of Silverton and Elwood Pass northeast of Pagosa Springs, as identified within the closure orders. For more information, contact the Rio Grande National Forest at 719-852-5941. For additional information on
road and trail closures affecting the Rio Grande National Forest go to: West Fork Fire Closures <http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/notices/?cid=STELPRDB5143145>.

Media Briefings

There are no scheduled media briefings. If media are interested in a briefing or interview, please contact the East Zone Information Office.


Fire Statistics

  • Location: 14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO
  • Start Date: 06/05/2013
  • Complex Size: 90,056 acres
    • Windy Pass: 1,411 acres
    • Papoose: 32,272 acres
    • West Fork: 56,373 acres
  • Total Personnel: 1,561
  • Percent Contained: 0%
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Resources Include: 11 Type 1 hand crews, 18 Type 2 hand crews, 113 engines, 4 dozer, 10 water tenders, and overhead personnel
  • Air Resources: 5 Type 1 helicopters, 2 Type 2 helicopters, 9 Type 3 helicopters, and 2 single engine airtankers (SEATS)

Places to get information