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West Fork Complex Fire update June 27, 8 p.m.

Modified: Thursday, Jun 27th, 2013




SOUTH FORK-The following fire information meetings will be held over the next several days:

Del Norte: Daily briefing at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte at 9 a.m.

Pagosa Springs: Saturday June 29 at 1 p.m. at the Community Center

Smoke: 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: Today the northwest flank of the fire continued to be active in Crooked Creek, and firefighters worked to keep the fire from impacting structures. On the west side, near the Rio Grande dam, the fire is still east of the Squaw Creek drainage. During the day, winds were primarily out of the southwest.

This afternoon a series of thunderstorms moved into the area. Winds shifted from the northwest and wind gusts of over 40 mph were observed. Northwest winds, in alignment with heavy beetle killed Englemann spruce, caused the fire to run several miles to the southeast. Spotting of 1/4 to1/2 mile occurred, and the fire is now established in Trout Creek. Firefighters burned out around structures in an effort to defend the homes in the Trout Creek area. The firefighters assigned to the night shift are currently en route to assist with structure protection. At this time there is no known structure loss.

Eastern part of West Fork Fire: The northeast flank of the fire is the most active as the fire burns near Elk Mountain. Structure protection is in place along Highways 149 and 160. Sprinklers have been set up near structures and will be used in the event that the fire pushes to the east. Firefighters continue to work around Lake Humphreys and Metroz Lake to protect structures.

West Zone of West Fork Complex (includes western part of West Fork and Windy Pass fires)

A change in wind direction and an inversion has brought heavy smoke into the Pagosa Springs area this evening. Fire activity was minimal today and the smoke in the area is due to light winds and atmospheric conditions. Expect heavy smoke overnight, the inversion should lift late in the morning allowing the smoke to disperse.

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. Some burning in beetle killed spruce on the west flank of the fire in the Weminuche wilderness put up a column during the day, but 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, which is also open.

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

Weather: A Red Flag Warning was in effect today for dry thunderstorms. Thunderstorms passed over the east side of the Papoose Fire this afternoon. Lightning, gusty winds, and very little moisture were reported near the fire. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for tomorrow for dry thunderstorms. Little if any moisture is expected from these storms with lightning and gusty winds being the primary concerns.

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: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.

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 852-5941.

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 any of the following:

Places to get information:

Joint Information Center: 719-569-4149 or 657-3279

Hours of operation: 8 a.m. 9 p.m.

West Zone Email: westforkfire@gmail.com

East Zone Email: WestForkFire.EastZone@gmail.com

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

Twitter: @rmt1pio

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RockyMtn.Type1.IMT.PIOs.

Information Boards: Information is posted at the Pagosa Springs Visitor Information Center, Freemons Ranch near Creede, the Forest Service office in Creede, and at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte.

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










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