West Fork Complex Fire Update: July 1

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Pete Blume, Incident Commander Phoenix National Incident Management Organization- Curtis Heaton, Incident Commander
Information Center: 719-569-4149 or 719-657-3279Hours of operation: 8:00 am
– 9:00 pm

West Zone Email: westforkfire@gmail.com East Zone Email: WestForkFire.EastZone@gmail.com

July 1, 2013 at  10:30 a.m.

Special Message

In light of the sad news associated with the loss of 19 members of our firefighting family from Granite Mountain Hot Shots on the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, the morning update was delayed because of a two hour stand down issued by Incident Commander Pete Blume. The stand down was a safety precaution provided to firefighters to debrief the situation and honor those firefighters lost on the Yarnell Hill Fire. Out of respect for our colleagues on the Yarnell Hill Fire and Prescott Fire Department, the West Fork Complex will not issue any further statements in regards to the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Current Situation

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

Papoose Fire 

Very little precipitation was received on the fire. Fire behavior is still expected to be extreme,
especially with the forecast for continued threat of thunderstorms that include gusty winds. Today’s highest priority is to focus on the northwest side of the fire by securing fireline near Crooked Creek down to Rio Grande Reservoir, keeping the fire east of Squaw Creek. Firefighters will use water or retardant drops to support construction of new line. On the southeast flank, the fire is expected to increase in activity this afternoon in the Trout Creek drainage. Firefighters will reinforce structure protection at Spar City and Red Mountain Ranch.Along Highway 149, firefighters will mop up adjacent to structures.

Eastern Part of West Fork Fire

Yesterday, the north part of the fire reported 0.20 inches of precipitationreceived. Firefighters will take advantage of the precipitation by securing line at Lake Humphreys and in theElk Mountain area. Firefighters will continue direct attack on that piece of fire line with the aid of water or retardant drops. Along Highway 160, firefighters continued to secure the fire’s edge. Protection has beenestablished around structures east of Highway 149.

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

West Fork Spike Camp that had been established to support the firefighting activities will be closed down today.All personnel and equipment will be transferred to the Incident Base at Stevens Airfield in Pagosa Springs.Please be cautious with the increased traffic, especially with increased traffic as visitors start to arrive for the 4th of July festivities.

Western Part of West Fork Fire/Windy Pass

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 Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort, which is still open, and hose lays and sprinkler systems are in place and operational in the West Fork Campground that is also open. Crews started to back haul the excess firefighting equipment at Borns Lake, Bruce Spruce and Wolf Creek.

Activity on the Windy Pass Fire yesterday was minimal. A resource advisor was on the fire line yesterday to assess the landscape and to begin developing are habilitation plan.


Scattered thunderstorms are expected to develop today with moderate to heavy rainfall possible and associated gusty winds. A potential for ash flow and mudslides still exists, as well as potential for tree blow down from high winds and helicopter activity.

Starting Tuesday, each day of the week is expected to become warmer and drier, with a chance of isolated thunderstorms.

Public Health and Safety

Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, and Creede.The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch) and #65 (Pagosa Springs) and can beaccessed through the map located at: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/smoke.pl.Times displayed are in GMT
subtract 6 hours to get local time (MDT). For the official Colorado Smoke Outlook, please visit http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colo_advisory.aspx and http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx 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. 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

Evacuations for several communities in Mineral County have been lifted.Residents are reminded to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice in the event that fireactivity changes. Visit http://westforkfirecomplex.blogspot.com/ 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 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:http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/notices/?cid=STELPRDB5143145.

Fire Information Meetings

The Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte closed today. Information meetings that had taken place at the shelter will no longer be held. Visit www.redcross.org/Colorado or contact your local Red Cross office for further information regarding the services they provide.

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: 93, 776 acres
Windy Pass: 1,417 acres
Papoose: 35,842 acres
West Fork: 56,517 acres
Percent Contained:  4%
Cause: Lightning
Total Personnel: 1508
Resources Include:  9 Type 1 hand crews, 21 Type 2 hand crews, 84 engines, 4 dozers, 12 water tenders, and overhead personnel
Air Resources: 6 Type 1 helicopters, 4 Type 2 helicopters, 10 Type 3 helicopters, and 2 single engine airtankers (SEATS)

Places to get information:Blog:

Twitter: @rmt1pio

Information Boards:
Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemons Ranchnear Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Del Norte High School.