West Fork Complex Fire Update: July 2 at 9 a.m.

Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team- Pete Blume, Incident Commander
Phoenix National Incident Management Organization- Curtis Heaton, Incident Commander
Joint Information Center: 719-569-4149 or 719-657-3279
Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
West Zone Email: westforkfire@gmail.com
East Zone Email: WestForkFire.EastZone@gmail.com

Special Message

We will publish the daily update once per day at 9 a.m., with Tweet and Blog entries throughout the day. With the Fourth of July weekend ahead, motorists can expect to see firefighting traffic along Highways 160 and 149. Please watch your speed.

Current Situation

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

The strategies for operations on the fire include continuing point protection for structures and high value resources, monitoring, and confining the fire in areas where it will not pose an issue for the local area during the remainder of the summer.

Papoose Fire 

Last night, firefighters were able to take advantage of the humidity recover overnight, allowing them to continue mop up in areas where heat around structures still remained. Humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air. Today, firefighters will continue mopping up around structures and start confining the northern part of the fire, from the Rio Grande Reservoir around the north and then south, along Highway 149. Falling trees in some areas of the fire are creating an unsafe situation and firefighters are avoiding those areas. Fire intensity is expected to increase in the next few days, especially in areas of gusty winds due to thunderstorms. Some burn out will take place in areas where wind will help keep fire spread away from structures. This will help to even out the fire line and achieve confinement.

Eastern Part of West Fork Fire 

Firefighters will continue achieving confinement of the fire from Humphreys Lake, moving north and then around the Elk Mountain area, moving south along Highway 160. Firefighters will monitor the areas of the fire that are inaccessible.

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

Firefighters are removing excess equipment and are prepared to respond to any new fire starts that may have occurred during the past few days. As firefighters secure the West Zone, aviation resources will be repositioned to other areas of the fire and are available to support ground resources when requested. As July 4th festivities draw closer, there is increased traffic on the roads. Firefighters and the public are asked to be careful when driving.

The San Juan National Forest is at Stage II Fire Restrictions starting July 2. Archuleta County remains at Stage 1. Additional information can be found on the San Juan National Forest’s website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sanjuan/home

West Zone 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 the Wolf Creek Ski Area, Borns Lake Cabins, and Bruce Spruce Resort. The West Fork Campground is open. Crews completed backhauling excess firefighting equipment at Borns Lake, Bruce Spruce and Wolf Creek. On Windy Pass, firefighters are removing excess equipment from the fire area, and continue to patrol and monitor the fire area.


Isolated thunderstorms are expected today, but those that do buildup will have little or no precipitation reaching the ground. Lightning and gusty, erratic winds will accompany any of the thunderstorms today. Temperatures will be just a few degrees warmer than Monday. The remainder of the week will show a similar weather pattern.

Public Health and Safety 

Smoke monitors are in place in Pagosa Springs, Freemon’s Ranch, and Creede, with one monitor yet to be installed at South Fork (on its way). The monitors are identified as #78 (Creede), #69 (Freemon’s Ranch) and #65 (Pagosa Springs) and can be accessed 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 visithttp://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. Reduced speed is posted on Highway 160. 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 

Some communities still remain under evacuation, others on pre-evacuation notice. Residents are reminded to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice in the event that fire activity 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 

None scheduled at this time.

Media Briefings 

There are no scheduled media briefings. If media are interested in a briefing or interview, please contact the East Zone Information Office at (719) 657-3279 or West Zone Information office at (970) 731-2432.

Fire Statistics

  • Location: 14.5 miles north/northeast of Pagosa Springs, CO 
  • Start Date: 06/05/2013
    Complex Size: 94,476 acres 
    • Windy Pass: 1,417 acres
    • Papoose: 36,510 acres
    • West Fork: 56,549 acres 
  • Percent Contained: 7%
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Total Personnel: 1,464
  • Resources Include: 8 Type 1 hand crews, 20 Type 2 hand crews, 82 engines, 5 dozers, 13 water tenders, and overhead personnel
  • Air Resources: 6 Type 1 helicopters, 4 Type 2 helicopters, and 10 Type 3 helicopters.

Places to get information

Information Boards: Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemon's Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Del Norte High School.

Photos: http://s1286.photobucket.com/user/WestForkComplex/library/